Lady Bird

Lady Bird, which hit theaters earlier this month, has collected sterling reviews proclaiming its writer-director, Greta Gerwig, an important new voice in American movies. Yet Gerwig isn’t really a new voice at all—in the past decade she’s racked up ten screenwriting credits, including collaborations with Chicago indie Joe Swanberg (Hannah Takes the Stairs and Nights and Weekends) and New York indie Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha and Mistress America). When I saw Lady Bird, her first solo flight, it struck me as something completely fresh, though I knew I’d already seen several movies she’d cowritten. Intrigued, I began revisiting some of these older features to see if I could extract the special sensibility of Lady Bird from the stories Gerwig had written with her mentors. Though autobiographical elements pop up in many of her scripts, the collaborations lack the sort of generosity and understanding she brings to her solo debut. One can isolate her voice, but often there seems to be someone else talking over her. Continue reading>>