—hype. I think it’s that I’m missing something, like something small, something self-reflexive, self-indicative. There’s definitely a sense of subtext to Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird (2017), like an in-joke, or else, like, you-wouldn’t-understand, but I don’t want that to re/define the experience of this film I thought might be another Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, or Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012). At the very least, I’m glad it’s nothing about Jason Reitman’s Juno (2007). It’s itself, enough, to merit talking about this growing phenomena that is audience-specific cinema.
I’m hesitant to use a word like niche to describe it—in fact—I’m hesitant to use a lot of words these days, and I suppose it feeds into a frustration I’ve had with language ever since I can remember. I want there to be words for definitions that don’t exist yet, that can’t exist yet, that convey with accurate, yet delicate, precision, precisely what it is I mean, and that are so objective, and without systemic usage, to warrant their own subjective history. There’ll probably never be a word that way, I’m reluctant to admit, so all we have are endless, Derridan, inter-definitions, and that are still pretty cool.
There’s a “niche” to this film, an articulation, that resonates, will resonate, with others, better, much, much, better, than it did with myself. I think the easiest explanation, and why I’ll put myself out of my misery, now, is because I am a self-identifying, heterosexual, close-enough-white male. Or, at least, these are the terms being used to describe someone like myself: I just see me, I just like what I like, I don’t think anybody’s more or less anything, anyone, so much so, I seldom give it a second-thought. That’s the short and the privilege of it.
Christine “Lady Bird” (played by Saoirse Ronan) has this perspective I can barely gist at, this innate percolation, having finally bubbled to the surface. It must feel, and enviously, for those many few, so indescribably good and almost vindicating. The film, the phenomena, I want to compare it to is actually Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther (2018). We’re witnessing the culmination of hundreds of years, thousands of years, of oppression, dissolve, disseminate, culture, and converge into crisp definition at long last.
None of this has anything to do with Lady Bird, but. It has everything to do with you—you—out there, reading, watching, thinking, feeling. That’s a marvel to behold, but it’s also a world, a reality, in context, and that tomorrow will remember differently, for better or worse. And it’s memory, it’s place, it’s family, and familiarity, that Lady Bird reminds me of the most. The life, the lives, we weave, between, and in amongst, that we are the story we don’t want to write about, forever. That everything starts for us the moment we realise who we are isn’t who we thought we were, it’s a changing beast, a mosaic, like a memory being remembered by the future, for the future, of ourselves.