what is the meaning of lady bird

That Greta Gerwig is a brilliant writer has been clear since the very start of her movie career, because the films in which she first starred, such as “Hannah Takes the Stairs” and “Yeast,” were already her feats of writing. Her dialogue in those films was mostly improvised, but it’s vastly superior to the texts of many acclaimed screenwriters. Other films that she has written, “Frances Ha” and “Mistress America,” are as readable as they are watchable. And her new film, “Lady Bird”—the first feature that she has directed alone, the first to be fully scripted, the first to be made on a substantial budget with a large and professional cast and crew—is full of exquisite dialogue. The experience of watching it for review is the experience of scribbling in the dark as fast as humanly possible, not only to be able to quote it and describe it but, above all, to be able to savor it.

In “Lady Bird,” Gerwig tells a coming-of-age story for a young woman in Sacramento, set between the fall of 2002 and the fall of 2003, that’s loosely autobiographical, cognate with very general aspects of her life. Gerwig, like the film’s protagonist, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (played by Saoirse Ronan), grew up in Sacramento, attended a Catholic high school, and went to New York for college. But what’s most significantly personal about “Lady Bird” isn’t the setup but the details—the emotional world of its characters, the touches of whimsy and grace with which she creates it.

The very title is a story in itself—when Christine is asked for her given name, she says “Lady Bird” and explains, “It was given by myself to myself.” Her fierce struggle to be called by this name is the struggle over what she got from, or is given by, her parents. Marion McPherson (Laurie Metcalf) is a nurse who puts in long hours at work and seems to do the bulk of the housework; she’s also extraordinarily frank about the difficulties that she and her family endure, and her frankness puts her into bitter conflict with her daughter. Lady Bird wants, above all, to leave Sacramento, to go to college on the East Coast—if not in New York, then “in Connecticut or New Hampshire, where writers live in the woods.” Marion insists that the family can hardly afford for her to attend a state school, so Lady Bird asks her easygoing and good-humored father, Larry (Tracy Letts), to complete a financial-aid application for her without telling Marion. He does so—but when the secret gets out, it drives a seemingly irreparable wedge between Lady Bird and her mother.

“Lady Bird” takes its protagonist through adolescent solipsism to recognition and gratitude, through the hazards of friendship complicated by matters of self- and self-imagination, through openhearted but uncertain fumblings of romance, through the unresolved and ever-mounting tensions of family life and the acknowledgment of its hard material practicalities, to a radiant reconciliation with her family, her home town, and herself. Lady Bird’s fine-grained perceptions come with a delicate meter of social distinctions and, with it, the desire for the pleasures, the sense of freedom, that money can buy—money that her parents don’t have. All the relationships in the film are tempered and conditioned by money. There’s Lady Bird’s friendship with Julie (Beanie Feldstein), who lives in a modest apartment with her single mother, and her sweet romance with Danny (Lucas Hedges), whose grandmother lives in her “dream house,” and who invites her to his family’s Thanksgiving feast. There’s Lady Bird’s next romance, with the rocker Kyle (Timothée Chalamet), who claims to “hate money” but lives a life of comfort on his family’s dime while attending a costly private school. And there’s Lady Bird’s effort to curry friendship with the school’s wealthy queen bee, Jenna (Odeya Rush), by pretending to be a rich kid herself, tossing out seemingly oblivious remarks with a self-conscious self-control.

Gerwig doesn’t romanticize the McPhersons’ genteel frustrations; she shows that they wear on Lady Bird as well. When Marion chastises Lady Bird for being demanding after Larry loses his job, Lady Bird responds with a smart but immature tantrum, insisting that Marion give her “a number”—tell her how much it costs to raise her: “I’m gonna get older and make a lot of money and write you a check and never speak to you again.” (Marion’s retort is both admirably calm and decisively cutting: “I doubt you’ll get that good of a job.”) Later, speaking of Larry’s depression (and trying to uncouple it from his job insecurity), Marion tells Lady Bird, “Money isn’t life’s report card. Being successful doesn’t mean that you’re happy.” Lady Bird responds, “But he’s not happy.” It’s a brilliant exchange: just as money doesn’t guarantee happiness, it’s no bar to it, either. On the contrary, Lady Bird has a vision of herself—of style and of freedom of action—that will take money to foster and sustain. In her sour retorts, there’s a ring of truth.

The movie is filled with insights about much more than money—for instance, in one series of riffs played mainly for comedy but shadowed with terror, a male math teacher, young and perky, flirts with Julie, never stepping openly out of bounds but clearly grooming a curiosity, even a desire, that hints at grave possibilities. The character of Lady Bird is impulsive, ardent, spontaneous. She disrupts and lampoons a school assembly about abortion; she plays a reckless practical joke on the school’s principal, a nun (Lois Smith); she declares with a curtly decisive frankness when she doesn’t want sex and when she does.

Nonetheless, Lady Bird’s volatile temperament comes through more in the writing and the drama than in the performance; Ronan doesn’t quite display the text’s sudden and mercurial energy. Metcalf, playing a character of taut and measured precision, steals the film with her precise inflections and focussed glances. In general, Gerwig favors precision in “Lady Bird.” If the films in which she came up flaunt ambiguity and the impenetrable, opaque idiosyncrasies of people (a reason why John Cassavetes is a hero to this generation of filmmakers), here she focusses her emotions within tight limits, the better for them to ring out and harmonize with a piercing, poignant clarity.

This air of restraint is conspicuous throughout the film, and the price of that clarity is freedom—Gerwig’s own as well as that of the actors. “Lady Bird,” daring, distinctive, and personal in text and theme, is recognizably conventional in texture and style. The bulk of the film is, in effect, pictures of actors acting—acting with skill and care, imagination and vigor, but with no more originality of tone or temperament than Gerwig brings to the direction of the film—at least, to most of the direction of the film. Her attention to the nuanced glances of characters adds extra psychological and comedic dimensions to the dialogue and the action. But for a movie that’s as deeply devoted as “Lady Bird” is to a sense of place, to a tribute to that place, it seems to inhabit that place so thinly, offering snippets of prominent sites without much proximity to them. The movie is nearly devoid of vistas, lacking moments between scenes when nothing special but vision and motion are happening, lacking even the walking and talking in places that the characters frequent. (The tendency is clear from the start, when a scene of Lady Bird and Julie visiting their dream houses seems nearly detached from the streets around them.) It’s also devoid of narrative vistas—its scenes are cut tightly to fit and leave the characters, and the actors, little in the way of comings and goings, of space to breathe, to look, to be. (As I watched the film, I yearned to see what went on between the characters just after each scene, between each transition.)

Gerwig’s restrained direction emerges from the very ideas in the film. The aesthetic of “Lady Bird,” its emotional and dramatic legibility, is a realism of morality, an utterly uncynical but clear-eyed sense of the responsibilities that come with the kind of money that it takes to make such a film, the kind of stylistic and tonal expectations that a movie of this sort creates and should fulfill in order for it to take its place in the field—and for Gerwig to take her apt place there along with it. There’s nobody in the film who performs with the freedom or the originality that Gerwig herself offers as an actor—in part, because Gerwig doesn’t give her actors an open narrative framework or production environment akin to the ones that have given rise to her own most original performances (including “Nights and Weekends,” from 2008, which she co-directed). “Lady Bird” isn’t a film that is stuck in conventions; it’s one that borrows them, but from within, not quoting them but treating them, too, with a sort of practical respect for a mature art that’s akin to the very reconciliations that are built into the story itself.

Nonetheless, two scenes, occurring late in “Lady Bird,” are among the most thrillingly directed of recent moments, and suggest with a clarion intensity that her directorial imagination reaches beyond the film’s primary mode of practical drama. To avoid spoilers, let’s just say that one is a scene of Marion driving by herself, and the other is a scene featuring flashbacks from Lady Bird’s point of view. These scenes, composed of disparate elements, rich in subjectivity, conjuring drama and emotion with simple but bold devices of editing, rise very high as cinematic music. These brief moments are the movie’s greatest exhilarations; even more than the copious and generously imagined drama that gives rise to them, they suggest the wider and freer inspirations of the directorial career that, if there’s any justice in the industry, Gerwig is launched on.

Origin of ladybird1C18: named after Our

The Complete Collins English Dictionary Ltd. HarperCollins Publishers, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 © 1979, 1986

Gerwig’s deliberate direction flows directly from the movie’s concepts. A realism of morality, an entirely uncynical but clear-eyed sense of the responsibilities that come with the kind of money that it takes to make such a film, and the kinds of stylistic and tonal expectations that a movie of this sort creates and should fulfill in order for it to take its place in the field—and for Gerwig to take her apt place there along with it—are all part of “Lady Bird’s” aesthetic, emotional and dramatic legibility. No actor in the movie gives as much freedom or originality as Gerwig does as an actor; this is partly because Gerwig doesn’t provide her actors with an open narrative framework or a production environment similar to the ones that gave rise to her most creative performances (such as the 2008 co-directed feature “Nights and Weekends”). “Lady Bird” is not a film that adheres to formulas; rather, it borrows them from within, not by quoting them but by treating them with a kind of pragmatic respect for an established art form that is comparable to the very reconciliations that are inherent in the narrative.

In “Lady Bird,” Gerwig narrates a loosely autobiographical tale of a young woman in Sacramento coming of age between the fall of 2002 and the fall of 2003. The story is cognate with very general aspects of the protagonist’s life. Like Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (played by Saoirse Ronan), the lead character in the movie, Gerwig was raised in Sacramento, went to a Catholic high school, and then attended college in New York. But rather than the setup, what makes “Lady Bird” so deeply personal are the little things—the characters’ emotional worlds, the whimsical and elegant touches that the author uses to create it.

The film offers insights about a lot more topics than money. For example, in a sequence of riffs intended primarily for comedic effect but also carrying a hint of fear, a youthful, energetic male math teacher makes flirtatious remarks to Julie. He never goes too far, but he is obviously developing a curiosity, even a desire, that raises serious possibilities. The character of Lady Bird is impulsive, ardent, spontaneous. She plays a careless practical joke on the school’s nun principal, Lois Smith, interrupts and mocks an assembly about abortion, and she bluntly states when she wants sex and when she doesn’t.

“Lady Bird” follows its lead from teenage self-centeredness to self-awareness and appreciation; from the perils of friendship complicated by issues of self- and self-imagination; from sincere but unsure romantic missteps; from unresolved and mounting tensions in family life to an acceptance of its harsh material realities; and finally, to a radiant reconciliation with her family, her hometown, and herself. Due to her keen perceptions, Lady Bird has a sensitive sense of social differences and, along with it, a strong desire for the freedom and pleasures that come with having money—money that her parents do not have. In the movie, money tempers and conditions every relationship. There’s Lady Bird’s friendship with Julie (Beanie Feldstein), a single mother who lives in a small apartment, and her charming relationship with Danny (Lucas Hedges), whose grandmother resides in her “dream house,” and who extends an invitation to Lady Bird to join his family for Thanksgiving dinner. The rocker Kyle (Timothée Chalamet), who professes to “hate money” but leads a comfortable life on his family’s dime and attends an expensive private school, is Lady Bird’s next romantic interest. Additionally, Lady Bird pretends to be a wealthy child herself in an attempt to make friends with Jenna (Odeya Rush), the school’s wealthy queen bee, by making seemingly insensitive remarks while exercising self-conscious self-control.

However, two scenes that take place toward the end of “Lady Bird” are among the most intensely directed scenes in recent memory, and they strongly imply that the director’s imagination extends beyond the film’s main mode of realistic drama. Let’s just say that one is a scene in which Marion drives alone and the other is a scene in which Lady Bird is experiencing flashbacks in order to prevent spoilers. These moments stand out greatly as cinematic music because they are made up of a variety of elements, are rich in subjectivity, and use straightforward yet daring editing techniques to evoke drama and emotion. The movie’s most thrilling sequences are these few minutes; they hint at the broader and more liberated inspirations of the directing career that, if there’s any justice in the industry, Gerwig is launched on, even more so than the copious and generously imagined drama that gives rise to them.


What is the meaning behind Lady Bird?

Part of adolescence is experimenting with personhood, and this is reflected through the film by its focus on her name. The true essence of the film lies in the gentle depiction of Lady Bird slowly emerging from being totally self-absorbed to being more aware of what surrounds her and its value.

What does it mean if someone calls you Lady Bird?

A lover or kept mistress. This glossary term is categorized as Slang.

What does the term lady bird mean?

A Lady Bird Deed is a transfer of property to another with a reservation of a life estate. Meaning a person can transfer property and retain ownership in that property until death, at which point it will then transfer to the other.

What is the old meaning of the ladybird?

ladybird (n.) also lady-bird, 1590s, “sweetheart,” a term of endearment, from lady + bird (n. 2). As the name of a type of beetle, 1670s, the earlier form of ladybug.