Opinions · Writing

I finally watched Lady Bird.

…like, a year later, but I finally watched it.

My expectations were super high for “Lady Bird” because the internet loved this movie and because how could all of those award noms be wrong?  This was advertise as a story about a strong female character, and I’m definitely here for that.  I wanted to like this movie, love this movie, be inspired by this movie.  I wanted a fresh story about a young woman going after her dreams and achieving.  Just the day before watching it, I texted my girlfriends to say that I wanted to see it “v badly.”

Halfway through the film, I realized I hated it and cringe-watched it to the end.  This film is an awkward mix of “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Garden State.”  It has the same kitschy vibe and, in “Lady Bird’s” case, it makes it feel too structured.  Lady Bird’s reality is so perfectly teenage-early-aughts that I didn’t believe it because it feels completely curated.

Lady Bird is, by far, the least interesting character in the film.  Sure, she insists on everyone calling her Lady Bird, but why?  Where did the name come from?  She had plenty of interesting views that Greta Gerwig (the writer/director) just gave her.  I found Lady Bird vapid, shallow, and ungrateful, all the worse because, unlike her popular “friend” Jenna, she has no idea that she is those things.  Wouldn’t someone who wants to be called Lady Bird have a strong enough sense of self to not give a shit about the popular kids, and think it’s cool to give a shit about the school’s drama production?  I’m officially sick of the trope of the nerdy cool girl ditching her real friend(s), wanting to be popular and liked by everyone, and it being passed off as a “coming of age” story.

I wanted to know so much more about her mother, her adopted brother, the real reason why her brother’s girlfriend lived with them, her sad drama priest, Julie, what happened when Danny came out and so much less about Lady Bird, about whom, as it turns out, there is not much to know.

Lady Bird has no struggle in her life.  The actual worst thing in her life is that her mom loves her too much.  But Lady Bird hates her mom so much, she throws herself out of a moving vehicle.  Why wasn’t that attempted vehicular suicide ever mentioned again?  Lady Bird’s mother, a psych nurse, should know a cry for help when she sees one.

Sure, Lady Bird’s family is “poor,” and true poverty can be tough.  Unemployment and collective family trauma can be tough.  Yet, Lady Bird is so disconnected from her family’s narrative that she, behind her mother’s back, applies for college across the county.  Of course, she makes it to college in New York City and that’s where Lady Bird’s final bits of “growing up” happen.  The ending is hollow and brief.  Ultimately, I felt there is no reason for her to hate or love Sacramento.  It was such a huge part of the plot, but with no supporting information about it.  We never got a sense of Sacramento beyond the fact that we are told that Lady Bird hates it (and then, also that she loves it).

“Lady Bird” is nothing new.  Lady Bird is another manic pixie dream girl, another John Green female supporting character, another hipster claiming originality.  “Lady Bird” is another “Girls.”  I will allow that if this movie wasn’t so hyped, I might have enjoyed it, but “Lady Bird” is old hat.

Exploration · Tarot

Love as a Work in Progress

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If you’re like me, you’ve learned a bit about love over the years.  If you’re like me, you’ve had your perceptions bashed upon the rocks, the waves of life repeatedly making you pull them out and reassess.  If you’re like me, each success and failure has taught you a little more.  It’s hard to say if I ever truly believed in “romance” in it’s stereotypical fashion; love and relationships never looked like that for me.  But, my views on love received a major overhaul about five to six years ago, which started with my current relationship, and it continues to be in flux and flow.

From a young age, we are inundated with examples of “love stories” in films that are made for very young children (I’m looking at you, Disney), planting seeds of expectation of what we could one day receive as love.  Nearly every story I’ve ever consumed has some kind of romantic subplot.  It’s gets you to thinking about the romantic subplot you will one day have, even at a very young age, because, of course, everyone gets a romantic subplot, right?…

But then we grow older and learn love is not all sunshine and rainbows, it can be kinda awkward and piecemeal.  Sometimes nothing happens for very long years.  Sometimes a friend likes you and you don’t like them back.  Sometimes you freak out and break up with someone over the phone.  Sometimes you break up with someone to be with someone else.  Sometimes you feel ugly and alone.  Sometimes you make mistakes you can’t take back.  Sometimes you receive calls in the night from someone confessing their love.  Sometimes you learn people say things just to get in your pants.  Sometimes you make a fool out of yourself.  Sometimes someone lies to you.  Sometimes people stop talking to you.  And you never get that so-very-Disney fairy tale.

You learn fairy tales exist in all sorts of forms.  You learn love is not about the flashiness, and the how-can-I-Instagram-this?  You learn that love is the quiet dedication of coming home to the same person each night.  That love is someone knowing your favorite foods and weird moods.  That love is someone supporting your strange endeavors and whimsy.  That love is someone rubbing your feet when they really don’t like feet.  That love is someone always doing the dishes.  That love is a re-commitment each day, of time and listening.  That love is committing energy to another person, to being together.

The thing about love is there is no one size fits all.  Love looks different for, and to, everyone.  Love may not exist in a romantic form for you at all.  Maybe that Disney model works for you.  In the end, you have to listen to yourself, and listen to your partner, and chose what’s right for you.  Love is a work in progress.  Every day.

How have your views on love changed over the years?  How are they still changing?  Let me know in the comments.  This post was inspired by the above cards from the Slow Holler Tarot and Oracle of Oddities.

exploringly yours,
Alaina xx