When Lady Bird was released to the public on December 1st, 2017, there was no massive marketing campaign or high-flying trailer to inspire droves of people to movie theaters. This classic film relied on word of mouth and fantastic reviews to gain five Oscar nominations (including Best Picture) and four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture and Best Screenplay.
It was the perfect film about a young lady’s nostalgia towards her hometown in Northern California.
Lady Bird is a coming-of-age story about a young woman growing up in Sacramento and trying to figure out life in her late teens. It follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (portrayed beautifully by Saoirse Ronan, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress) through her years in Catholic high school developing friendships, figuring out young romance, dealing with family relationships and dreaming of a better life outside Sacramento.
The movie is a semi-biographical story from the brain of writer/director Greta Gerwig, who shows her sentimental feelings towards her NorCal hometown with an incredibly authentic script and beautiful camera work all over Sacramento. In an attempt bring her Northern California nostalgia to life, she masterfully filmed the movie using colors you might see in old polaroid photos.
The center of the film lies within Lady Bird’s relationships, most specifically her contentious relationship with her overbearing mother. The movie begins with a long argument between the two before Lady Bird jumps out of the car to avoid any further conflict. Lady Bird wears a pink cast on her arm throughout most of the movie, a constant reminder of that episode, and thus, their difficult relationship. It constantly questions the assertion that attention, no matter the tone, means love.
The idea of Lady Bird’s need to leave Sacramento, only to miss it when she leaves, is a feeling we all can relate to. Everyone sees the grass as greener, especially when growing up in what we consider during our youth to be “mundane” areas of Northern California. But when faced with the world, we can’t help but fondly remember the roots of our existence.
The movie is unapologetically real, sometimes harshly depicting the life of an outcast teenager desperately trying to fit in and figure out this weird thing we call life.
The people of Sacramento were so appreciative of this “love letter” by Gerwig, they took up 11 billboards around the city to congratulate the film’s accomplishments. The movie is unabashedly Northern Californian, with Gerwig even hiring an accent coach to give the star of the movie, Saoirse Ronan, a truly Northern Californian accent (described as “drawn out” and “lazy”).
Today, the movie sits with a 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Any great love letter is not one of roses and heart shaped punctuations, but that of sincerity and emotion. Lady Bird is a movie that brings Sacramento to life with pure honesty and palpable affection. And when you watch the film, it can be a reminder of why we love NorCal so much.
We recommend this movie for everyone with Northern Californian roots!
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine