From the first day of high school, senior year is something that everyone thinks about.
I remember my first day of sophomore year, I thought that high school was going to go on forever, and that walking at graduation, or going to senior prom was something that I would never actually do. I never really thought about applying to college (aside from having the determination to leave Utah), but as that time came and went, it feels like everything just slipped through my fingers.
Just a few years ago, seniors were telling me to enjoy high school, and that it would all go by way faster than you’d expect. I never really took them seriously though- because going through all three years of high school just seemed like an overwhelming amount of time to me as a sophomore.
Additionally , people have been telling me to watch the film, “Lady Bird” for a long time. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Lady Bird, but funnily enough, I postponed watching it until literally a month before graduation. Something about this movie, the simplicity, or maybe the familiar feeling of everyday life really connected with me. Lady Bird is a movie about high school, but not just the highs of it.
Christine (Lady Bird) McPherson, played by actress Saoirse Ronan, is the average high school girl. She goes to Catholic school in Sacramento, does theater as a hobby, and runs for student government without the intent to win, just for the sake of doing so. Lady Bird differs from what most would call the “main character” of a movie. She’s got a little of that “teen angst” people love to romanticize, but for the most part she’s a straight-laced student who stays out of the popular crowd. She cares about her friends, family, and hobbies, even if she doesn’t show it all the time.
Although Lady Bird seems like a simple character, and the show mostly follows normal senior year events, that’s what makes the film special. Following Lady Bird through her experiences made me feel somewhat better about my own high school experiences. Not every school prom is going to be the way it looks in the movies (or on social media), and you don’t always get to go to your dream college. I think the realism of Lady Bird gives a breath of fresh air in the romanticized “high school experience” everyone’s always talking about.
Something that really made this movie special was the imperfection of Lady Bird herself. The highs and lows of Lady Bird’s personality were anything but oversimplified. Her actions certainly left me with the feeling that I should be easier on myself and others. She didn’t always think things through, and sometimes she was a bad friend. Neither of those things are great qualities, but I think that they added to a realistic portrayal of Lady Bird as a character, and gave her depth as if she were an actual person rather than just the main character of a movie.
As a whole, “Lady Bird” is like a love letter to every “average” high school senior. It felt flattering, in a way, that someone would think to create a film that resembled an experience I could relate to in high school. There are so many movies, films, and social media portrayals of high school that just have never made sense to me.
In Lady Bird, there was no perfect love story or unrealistic circumstance for the movie to rely on, which made me feel okay about some highly regarded experiences not working out for me; It was just the highs and lows of being a young person condensed into one hour and thirty four minutes.