Reel Reviews: ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Three Billboards’

By on December 6, 2017

Limited releases shine

The battle between “The Justice League” and “Thor” managed to create a massive crevasse in the release of new movies, as only Buena Vistas’ animated “Coco” dared open after the monoliths of super hero action flicks decided to duke it out over the Thanksgiving period. The absence of new releases opened an opportunity for previously limited releases to shine, and they did!

In its fifth week in limited release, “Lady Bird,” jumped into the top 10 ahead of the later released “Murder on the Orient Express,” and secured seventh place. The coming of age film stars Irish actress Saoirse Ronan (who hosted this past weekend’s Saturday Night Live) as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, a senior at a parochial high school who is questioning society, herself, and the standards put upon her by parents and peers.

“It’s like a modern day ‘Juno,’” said Melanie S. of Upper Leacock.

The strong,-yet vulnerable,-main character is joined by her depressed father (Tracy Letts), her passive aggressive mother (Laurie Metcalf, Aunt Jackie in “Roseanne”), and best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein; if she looks familiar she is Jonah Hill’s little sister).

The movie is already garnering Oscar chatter and Ronan is no stranger to acclaim. Her most notable previous performances were in “Brooklyn,” “Atonement,” and “Hannah.” She has already been nominated for two Academy Awards and may be vying for a golden statue again with her performance in “Lady Bird.”

That said, there are two glaring faults in this film. The first is the overly-driven establishment of era by Writer/Director Greta Gerwig, which reminded viewers our character was coming of age in a post-9/11 world. We got it with the first reference. The second mention made sure those who missed the first now understood. After the third I found myself wondering what the filmmaker was actually trying to say without having the characters actually say it. Something to think about? Yes. Something needing to be thought about? No.

There is one fatal scene in “Lady Bird,” which will stop it from achieving Oscar success as a whole. In a scene after her mother discovers Lady Bird’s plans to attend an east coast college, mom turns violently silent to the point of abusive and ignores the pleas of her daughter to talk to her. The scene drags on way too long and is poorly directed and acted. It’s too much to overlook.

Overall, the movie’s impact will rely on the viewer and be a direct correlation on where he or she is in our complex socioeconomic United States. The movie is a success because it will make people feel a myriad of emotions all dependent on their preordained position prior to entering the theater. I can’t tell if it would be a good movie for my daughter to see when she is an older teen or if I should jettison this movie to the memories I keep and will be forgotten.

‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

With available inches on this column dwindling I can sum up the next movie by simply saying, “go see ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.’” Starring Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson, this Martin McDonagh written and directed feature reminds us of the magic he created with “In Bruges.” Dark, comedic, and human, this film is a must see for fans of good film.

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