where is lady bird set

‘I want to go where culture is – like New York, or at least Connecticut or New Hampshire,’ says Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), just before throwing herself out of a moving car. Lady Bird’s problem is that she lives in Sacramento, home town of Greta Gerwig, writer-director of the poignant and heartwarming smalltown slice of life that was, whatever the Oscars said, 2017’s best film.

Lady Bird constantly writes off Sacramento, damning it as ‘the Midwest of California’. In this, she’s following movie tradition, where Nowheresvilles get a bad rap, either stifling like The Last Picture Show’s Archer City or downright sinister like Blue Velvet’s Lumberton. All the same, while no one’s arguing that California’s state capital is going to beat San Francisco or LA on beauty or cool, this film is very much a love letter to Sacramento.

‘I felt like it had not been given its proper due in cinema,’ Gerwig has said, perhaps thinking of the aerial shot of the city in the titles of Sam Mendes’ American Beauty, used to affirm in no uncertain terms the pointlessness of modern life. Her affection is most clear in parallel scenes where Lady Bird’s mother (Laurie Metcalf) and then the character herself drive through Sacramento, passing local landmarks including the green-girdered Jibboom Street Bridge and White House-lookalike California State Capitol, and the Cookies Drive-in (rush for the ‘teriyaki chicken bowl, hot dogs and sandwiches’) and Pasty Shack (just… pasties). Later, there’s another nostalgic montage with neon signs for teen hangouts such as the Tower and Crest cinemas, Gunther’s Ice Cream Shop on Franklin Boulevard and Club Raven, a classic American bar on J Street.

Gerwig also places key events in real-life settings. Lady Bird and her mother squabble and coo over dresses in Thrift Town, on 410 El Camino Avenue to the north. She celebrates her 18th birthday with ‘One pack of Camel Lights and a scratcher and a Playgirl’ at American Market & Deli on 2331 North N Street, served by the real-life shopkeeper and lighting up in front of the store’s lurid peacock mural. Earlier, she waltzes and star-gazes with first boyfriend Danny in the Frederick N Evans Memorial Rose Garden in McKinley Park, to the east of the city.

Danny’s grandmother’s house, where they go for Thanksgiving, is just where Lady Bird says it is when lying to class queen Jenna that it’s hers: on 44th Street, in the “Fab 40s”, the upmarket area where Ronald Reagan lived in his time as Governor of California. (The interior scenes, though, were filmed in another mansion down the road.) Later, LB and best friend Julie share life lessons after prom in the shadow of the Thirties-built Tower Bridge, painted gold by popular demand in 2001, the year before the film is set. It pops up several times but here it hogs the screen in a fashion reminiscent of Woody Allen’s adoration of the architecture of Manhattan.

Occasionally, Gerwig strays out of Sacramento and heads south towards Los Angeles. Lady Bird’s Catholic girls school, Immaculate Heart of Mary (or, inevitably, ‘Immaculate Fart), is a combination of Alverno Heights in Sierra Madre and South Pasadena High, while the supermarket where she pesters her brother and his girlfriend is Fields Market in West Hills. The New Helvetia coffee shop where she works and gets told off for flirting with Kyle (Call Me By Your Name’s Timothée Chalamet) is in fact Kaldi Coffee, situated in a former back in South Pasadena, while the family home is in Van Nuys.

The only other acknowledged location is New York, where Lady Bird flies at the end of the film. Most memorable is First Presbyterian Church on Fifth Avenue, where she walks via Waverly Place and Washington Square Park and is drawn inside by the choir practice. It’s a wonderful scene, all the more powerful because all that grandeur only makes us think back to dusty, workaday little Sacramento.

Nevertheless, Ronan’s performance falls short of capturing the text’s abrupt and mercurial energy; Lady Bird’s volatile temperament is more evident in the writing and drama. Metcalf, who plays a character with taut, measured precision, steals the movie with her focused glances and precise inflections. In general, Gerwig favors precision in “Lady Bird. If the movies she appeared in showcased ambiguity and the unfathomable, opaque quirks of people (which is why John Cassavetes is revered by this generation of filmmakers), in this instance, she keeps her emotions in check so that they can harmonize with a sharp, poignant clarity.

Greta Gerwig has been an accomplished writer since the beginning of her film career. Her writing credits include the films “Yeast” and “Hannah Takes the Stairs,” which she starred in. Although the majority of her dialogue in those movies was improvised, it is still far better than the scripts of many well-known screenwriters. Her other screenplays, “Frances Ha” and “Mistress America,” are equally watchable and readable. And “Lady Bird,” her latest film, which she directed herself for the first time, is packed with brilliant dialogue. It’s also the first fully scripted picture she’s directed, and it was produced on a big budget with a sizable and skilled cast and crew. Watching it for review is like writing in the dark as quickly as you can to not only be able to quote and describe it but, most importantly, to be able to enjoy it.

“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.

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.

When Lady Bird takes off from New York at the end of the movie, it is the only other recognized location. The First Presbyterian Church on Fifth Avenue stands out the most because she enters during choir practice while strolling past Waverly Place and Washington Square Park. This is a beautiful scene, made even more impactful by the fact that all that grandeur just brings us back to the dusty, everyday little Sacramento.

Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) says, “I want to go where culture is – like New York, or at least Connecticut or New Hampshire,” right before she jumps out of a moving car. The issue Lady Bird faces is that she resides in Sacramento, the hometown of Greta Gerwig, the writer-director of the moving and endearing smalltown drama that was, despite the Oscars’ verdict, the best picture of 2017.

“I felt like it hadn’t gotten its proper due in cinema,” Gerwig stated. She may have been referring to the aerial view of the city featured in Sam Mendes’ American Beauty titles, which serve as a clear statement about the meaninglessness of contemporary life. Her love is most evident in parallel scenes where Lady Bird’s mother (Laurie Metcalf) and the character drive through Sacramento, passing by famous local landmarks like the California State Capitol, which resembles the White House, and the green-girdered Jibboom Street Bridge. They also pass by the Cookies Drive-in, where patrons rush for the “teriyaki chicken bowl, hot dogs, and sandwiches,” and the Pasty Shack, which is just… pasties. A little while later, there’s another nostalgic montage featuring neon signs for popular teen hangouts like Club Raven, a classic American bar on J Street, Gunther’s Ice Cream Shop on Franklin Boulevard, and the Tower and Crest movie theaters.

Gerwig occasionally ventures south from Sacramento, toward Los Angeles. Immaculate Heart of Mary, Lady Bird’s Catholic girls school (also known as “Immaculate Fart”), is a cross between South Pasadena High and Alverno Heights in Sierra Madre, and Fields Market in West Hills is the supermarket where she bothers her brother and his girlfriend. The family home is in Van Nuys, but the coffee shop where she works in New Helvetia and gets reprimanded for flirting with Kyle (Timothée Chalamet from Call Me By Your Name) is actually Kaldi Coffee, located in a former back in South Pasadena.

Gerwig also places key events in real-life settings. Trash Town, located on 410 El Camino Avenue to the north, is where Lady Bird and her mother quarrel and swoon over clothes. At American Market, she celebrates turning eighteen with “One pack of Camel Lights and a scratcher and a Playgirl.” She had earlier danced and stargazed in the Frederick N. Evans Memorial Rose Garden in McKinley Park, east of the city, with her first boyfriend, Danny.


Is Lady Bird set in Sacramento?

“Lady Bird:” A coming-of-age comedy drama based in Sacramento. The movie has cameos of the Fabulous 40s neighborhood and the rose garden in McKinley Park.

Where in Sacramento does Lady Bird live?

Lady Bird’s favorite Sacramento house is a real residence in the Fabulous Forties neighborhood, an upscale, tree-lined neighborhood in the numbered 40s streets of East Sacramento.

Where and when is Lady Bird set?

In 2002, an artistically inclined 17-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.

What school does Lady Bird go to in New York?

But for whatever reason, she placed Lady Bird downtown, near the action of the the most quintessential New York school, NYU. That’s as much as we know.