THE CHARACTERISTICS DETERMINING WHO or what a person is makes up their identity. My question is how much of that identity is affected by outside influences. Recently I had a lunch date with a father and daughter. They had similar facial features but that is not so unusual; their shared characteristics however really intrigued me. Besides having similar personality traits they both had common likes and dislikes, along with some interesting quirks. I was fascinated seeing them together since it was my first time meeting the daughter. Later in the day I remember thinking about the similarities between those family members and wondering how much of my identity was created by outside forces. When you think about it aren’t you usually surprised when a couple has more than one child and each one is so different? You would assume being raised in the same type of environment their children would have similar temperaments, but it is not true. ONE OF THE CHARACTERISTICS I feel a child needs to go out into this world is to be independent. This is a trait that can come about from having parent(s) active in child rearing or on the other hand not having parents involved. I have seen children grow up fiercely independent from both home environments. Not that I would ever cringe if a young adult said they wanted to be just like their mother or father, unless their parent was a serial killer; but being able to discern between positive and negative characteristics is important and I do not believe everyone can tell the difference. In previous reviews I have talked about abusers more than likely having been abused themselves. There is a family I know where the parent neglected their child for the most part. That child grew up and when they had children they did the same thing by neglecting them. On the other hand you can have a parent and child who are so much alike they might not even be aware of it, just like in this film festival winning dramatic comedy. NOT WANTING TO BE the same like everyone else Christine McPherson, played by Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn, Hanna), chose to become “Lady Bird.” It would be her way to escape her hometown of Sacramento, California and her mother Marion, played by Laurie Metcalf (The Big Bang Theory-TV, Roseanne-TV). Written and directed by Greta Gerwig (Jackie, Mistress America) this was one of the best coming of age stories I have seen this year. With Odeya Rush (The Giver, Almost Friends) as Jenna Walton and Timothee Chalamet (Love the Coopers, Interstellar) as Kyle Scheible, I thought the entire cast was perfect with their characters. Laurie was so outstanding I believe she could get a nomination for her role. What I appreciated most about this movie was the authenticity of the dialog and action. Without giving much away let me just say the scene where Lady Bird and her mother are shopping for a dress was pitch perfect. Now granted I have no experience regarding the mother daughter connection, but I have been privy to the dynamics of it through friends and family. I felt Greta did an excellent job capturing the feelings and flavor of the turmoil being experienced by the McPhersons. In a field of comedies and coming of age stories this one certainly stands out as being different, which is a good thing.
3 ½ stars
Two of my constant companions during my adolescence were awkwardness and self-consciousness. Besides a case of acne and dealing with a body mass larger than my frame, I suffered from thick hair sprouting up on my face. I know I am not the only one who had to deal with these changes, but what made me want to be invisible was my dermatologist–that is what the state license crookedly hanging on his office wall said he was able to practice. I was constantly suffering from a rash of red bumps that kept appearing on my neck. The dermatologist determined they were flat warts and treated them with a cauterizing needle. In other words, he would burn them off my neck. I had a schedule of appointments where I would have this done and return to school with my neck looking like it had been attacked by a swarm of bees. You can understand why I wanted to disappear. Adding salt to the wound, I found out a few years later they were not flat warts, just ingrown hairs. I could sympathize with the young adults wanting to disappear in this quirky film. Fed up with the lack of privacy from his sarcastic father Frank, played by Nick Offerman (Sin City, 21 Jump Street), Joe came up with a plan to run away to a place where he could set the rules. Agreeing to go with Joe, played by Nick Robinson(Melissa & Joey-TV) was his best friend Patrick, played by Gabriel Basso (Super 8, Alabama Moon). Joining the best friends was the oddball Biaggio, wildly played by Moises Arias (Nacho Libre, Hannah Montana-TV). Fitting somewhat into the coming of age genre, what set this movie apart were the adults in the cast. Besides NIck’s wickedly good performance there was Megan Mullally (Smashed, Will & Grace-TV) and Marc Evan Jackson (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Slammin’ Salmon) as Patrick’s parents Mr. & Mrs. Keegan. I enjoyed the out of kilter vibe in this Sundance Film Festival nominated comedy and if for nothing else, the story lightened up my mood from recalling my adolescence. Stay for the credits.