Whenever I return to Ohio and suggest to my family, “let’s see a movie!” I am usually met with a huge sigh because they know I’m going to pick something “artsy” or “weird.” This movie succeeded and pleased me because it was a little bit of both. But I loved Ladybird most for what it isn’t.
Ladybird is about love but it’s not a love story. It’s about love between family and love in friendship. The film follows Christine, who has re-christened herself “Ladybird,” as she navigates her way through the last year of adolescence into adulthood. She is quirky and vivacious. A little bit awkward. I haven’t related to a character this heavily since Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. Sairose Ronan glows on screen with captivating personality and wit. She plays Ladybird as feisty, flawed and set in her own ways.
Ladybird is witty, yet harsh with it’s lessons. With growing up, there is heartbreak. True, mascara-streaked, sit-in-your-car-and-cry-to-Dave-Matthews heartbreak. There is pain in getting excited about someone and having it fall apart before your eyes. Seeing your boyfriend kiss another boy. Or giving your whole self to somebody and being cast away like you are nothing. Ladybird exhibits heartbreak so beautifully and realistically that I could feel it, too. Growing up, boys come and go… but friends and family are there to clean up the mess.
Ladybird’s friendship with her best friend, Julie (the fantastic Beanie Felstein) is sweet and carefree. They have innocent fun together and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Ladybird’s loyalty to Julie wavers but when they are friends again, it’s like nothing has changed. They dance like fools at the prom together and it is heart-warming. Friendship is a unique form of love. It is mutual, unconditional, but friends are the family we choose. There are not a lot of movies that exhibit love between friends without taking it too far.
The other type of love is family love. Ladybird lives with her family on the “wrong side of the tracks,” as she jokingly likes to say. Money issues raise tension between family members but strengthens their love for each other in the end. Ladybird’s rocky relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) hits rock bottom when she goes to New York for college (her big dream). Her father (Tracy Letts) supports her in her decision in his own relaxed-but-quiet style. In the end, Ladybird learns a valuable lesson.
Family and friends are sometimes all the love you need. You can’t love anyone until you love yourself for who you are.
I wrote this because I can’t get this film off my mind. It’s been sitting there for two days, circling around. It’s haunting in a way, as this film hits home pretty hard. I recommend this movie if you enjoy artsy, feel-good films. Below is a song I chose from the soundtrack. Enjoy!
Listen to this: “Crash Into Me” by Dave Matthews