As the Oscars approach, film fanatics are casting bets as to which films will take home the gold. This year has been one of the most amazing years for film, with stories like “Call Me By Your Name,” “Get Out,” “Dunkirk” and my personal favorite, “Lady Bird” dominating theaters. “Lady Bird” has five nominations: Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Original Screenplay and Director. Not only is this story’s main character a young woman, but, more importantly, the film is directed by a young woman. Over the years, we’ve seen a male-dominated film industry — and this one film hasn’t changed that — but I am hopeful that it could be a catalyst for the industry to start embracing more female stories.
“Lady Bird” is a common story, but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular. Greta Gerwig accurately and lovingly portrays the trials and tribulations of simply being a teenage girl on the brink of adulthood, while illustrating a beautiful and relatable relationship between Lady Bird and her mother.
Gerwig is no stranger to film, as she earned a Golden Globe nomination for “Frances Ha,” a small-budget success she wrote and starred in back in 2012. Since then she has acted in films such as “To Rome With Love,” “Jackie” and “20th Century Women.” She’s been quoted saying that Lady Bird the character is “lustful,” and that, “she wants things. Not to get too gender studies about it, but she’s not waiting for anybody to look at her. She’s doing the looking.”
The importance of films such as these is further emphasized in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, where women are demanding their voices be heard over the overtly dominant voices of men in power. I’ve always felt that films dealing with female subjects aren’t as valid and meaningful when they are not produced by and told by women. The female experience is far too varied and complex to be accurately captured through the Manic Pixie Dream Girls we’re all too used to seeing.
This story, without giving too much away if you haven’t already seen it, exudes female doubt, anger, fear, love, and free-spiritedness in a refreshing way. By the end of it, I was in tears. I could see so many aspects of myself in Lady Bird. Even from the perspective of a college student, it evokes the sensational feeling of leaving home for the first time, and the heartbreak and misery you feel when you’ve realized you’ve taken your home for granted.
2018 needs to continue on the path that “Lady Bird” has paved. There are so many Gerwigs out in the industry, waiting for their shot in the dark, working to create beautiful movies, fighting a forever’s worth of sexism. And I’m rooting for them.