Perhaps the most remarkable thing about “Lady Bird” — a film with no shortage of remarkable things — is how Greta Gerwig manages to pack so much life into such a condensed stretch of time. A blisteringly paced 93 minutes that distills its heroine’s senior year of high school down to its greatest hits, this coming-of-age story somehow manages to make even its most peripheral characters feel like real people, their hopes and hardships continuing to exist long after they’ve flitted away from Lady Bird’s attention.
From Lady Bird’s parents, to the priest who runs her school’s drama program, to the pretentious douche who pops her cherry (and even to his cancer-stricken dad), you could imagine Gerwig devoting an entire movie to virtually any member of her cast. In fact, that generous sense of humanity is one of the biggest reasons why this movie works so well, as “Lady Bird” tempers its protagonist’s teenage egocentrism by allowing us to see what she can’t.
This is a story that’s told through a very particular lens; it’s not always the lens we would have chosen, but it’s the one that Gerwig gave us. It’s a good one. To Lady Bird, the world is only as wide as what she can see at any given moment, and she looks at it through a spotlight that shines on just one person at a time; the moment when she first sees Kyle playing with L’Enfance Nue (completely forgetting that Danny is standing right next to her) is so cringe-worthy because we all kinda lost our object permanence at that age. One of the great joys of this film is being reminded that everybody could be a bit narcissistic, but nobody grows up by themselves.
So while Saoirse Ronan has deservedly received most of the attention, her extraordinary and voracious performance in the titular role almost tends to obscure that “Lady Bird” boasts the deepest ensemble of this year’s Best Picture nominees. As a tribute to the smaller roles that make this movie possible — and a testament to how much Gerwig was able to create from so little — we’ve decided to celebrate its six best supporting characters (though we easily could have expanded this article to accommodate six more).
6. Sister Sarah-Joan (Lois Smith)
Best line: “Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention?”
Sister Sarah-Joan only has two …read more