Rated Greg’s Top 5 Directorial Debuts
- Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy)
- Get Out (Jordan Peele)
- The 40 Year Old Virgin (Judd Apatow)
Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck)Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig) Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck)
Let’s get straight and to the point. Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird, is a masterpiece. The coming of age instant classic follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson as she navigates her senior year of Catholic high school in Sacramento circa 2002. For some reason it reminded me a lot of last year’s Manchester by the Sea, not that the two movies have a ton in common. Manchester is heavy drama within east coast personalities intermixed with soft moments of humor, while Lady Bird is a comedy within west coast personalities intermixed with lighter drama, but the experience of watching both is so damn life affirming that I couldn’t help but equate the two (Lucas Hedges also appears in each).
I’m guessing this was a very personal project for Gerwig given that she hails from Sacramento herself and likely graduated from high school around the same time. It’s not overly rife with signifiers of the era (a hit song here, a puka shell necklace there, sidenote: Rated Greg also graduated in 2002) but it does a great job of capturing the senses of that small period of time in America that was post 9/11 yet still before the internet became a focal point in everyday life. I don’t really care how much of Lady Bird is truly autobiographical or embellished because it’s just SUCH an enjoyable 93 minutes, what difference does it make?
I do have to ashamedly admit that I didn’t really enjoy much of Gerwig’s previous work. She was great in last year’s 20th Century Women and I’ll also ride for Francis Ha, but other than that she always just seemed like she was playing herself in semi-intellectual, quirky movies not really meant for the Rated Greg brand. However I guess that’s not that big of a deal, it’s not like Bruce Willis has ever tapped into someone other than himself. Not everyone needs to be a borderline psycho like Jake Gyllenhaal. Anyways, I’m in love with this movie and can’t recommend it enough to go to the theater for. At 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, clearly I’m not the only one and am glad Lady Bird’s acclaim will only lead to greater directorial opportunities for Gerwig down the road. Grade: A-