Greta Gerwig gets the last laugh on the nuns at the Catholic school of her old high school, St. Francis School in Sacramento. As the writer and director of "Lady Bird," Gerwig's creativity lets loose a lashing on Catholic school teachers and the Catholic church.
"Lady Bird" is a movie about a female high school student who is universally unhappy about her life as a Catholic school girl senior. But she has plenty of anger directed at her hovering, controlling mother as well.
"Lady Bird" stars Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Laurie Metcalf (her father), Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet (her father), Beanie Feldstein, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Lois Smith. It's set in Sacramento, California, in 2002.
At the 90th Academy Awards, "Lady Bird" earned five nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress for Ronan, Best Supporting Actress for Metcalf, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director, both for Gerwig.
Any bad behavior that you can imagine happening to a student at a Catholic high school happens in this movie. But it's not the school, it's the student. And it seems to be the ultimate retrospective for Gerwig. Maybe she was not aware of how much she suffered under the strictures of the Catholic church school. Now that Gerwig is older, she can write about it how the nuns humiliated her by measuring the length of their skirts.
Some of the Lady Bird highlights:
"Lady Bird" is like a female version of "Risky Business," a movie that stars Tom Cruise. What's the difference? Joel Goodsen (Tom Cruise) has some fun and gets into trouble - a lot of trouble. But he acts like a normal boy who gets into trouble. Goodsen really does seem to like his life, at least before a cigar-smoking friend messes it up.
The problem is that when men do these things, they make fun of themselves; when women (or girls) do it, they take themselves too seriously. It's as though Lady Bird is attempting to reform Catholic schools all by herself.
If she isn't trying to do that, she's just an annoying character; She doesn't seem to have fun, or like her life; she causes enough problems for the entire senior class at her school. It's not the school, it's her, because her behavior is generally disgusting and depraved.
Gerwig could learn something from St. Francis of Assisi, the saint for whom her school in Sacramento was named. St. Francis of Assisi is credited with a prayer that Gerwig should take to heart. It applies to women and girls, as well as men and boys:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.
© 2018 Larry Ingram
Based in St Louis,
Larry Ingram writes about the news media, movies and culture, as well as on topics like race, privilege, Christianity, religious expression and tolerance.
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