Lady Bird [2017] ★★★½

 Coming-of-age movies have been around since forever, hitting their peak in the 1980’s with such movies as “Breakfast Club” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. Even Richard Linklater’s masterful “Boyhood” explored that part of adolescence with a keen eye for detail. Is there room for more? The answer is yes and she goes by the name of “Lady Bird”. In a remarkable performance, Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement”, “Brooklyn”) commands our attention from start to finish as a 17 year-old-girl who is about to experience the most life-changing year of her life: senior year. And for 90 minutes, we are witnesses to the drama in her everyday life: the awkwardness of her first love, the loss of innocence, the difficult relationship with her mom, an adolescent’s search for identity, and much more. The arc of the story is incredibly overwhelming, which only sinks in when the film is over and you realize how much truly changed in a year. Kudos to writer director Greta Gerwig (a regular on Noah Baumbach’s films), who wrote the story based on her own experiences. By doing that, she dodges the clichés of the genre in favor of an honest observation about family, dependence, and, ultimately, independence. And at the center of it all is an exceptional performance by Saoirse Ronan, who has never been better. “Lady Bird”is the coming-of-age movie of the year. Do not miss it.

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