April 23, 2018 | Rome, Italy | °C
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Antonio Campos' take on the Christine Chubbock suicide is all about the stunning Rebecca Hall.



A decade later David Fincher's serial killer film still stands tall as a study in administrative futility.

Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson's dives into the British fashion world of the 1950s, and creates an difficult romance.

American Made

Tom Cruise is in top form in Doug Liman's sly take on the life and times of one Barry Seal.


John Carroll Lynch's ode to veteran American actor Harry Dean Stanton is a small-town masterpiece.

Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman's portrayal of Winston Churchill is the bright, shining light in a film about England's time of woe.

My Cousin Rachel

Roger Mitchell's "My Cousin Rachel" is 19th-century period drama without surprises.


It Comes at Night

Trey Edward Shults' low budget thriller links a killer plague with human mistrust and fear wins out.

68 Kill

Trent Haaga's screwball horror flick is crazy girl power on blood-spangled speed.

Science Fiction

Pacific Rim Uprising

The first "Pacific Rim" included a nod to the human race. The second is pure monster alley.

Date: 2017
Directed by: Greta Gerwig
Starring: Soarise Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges, Tracy Letts, Timothée Chalamet

Lady Bird

"Lady Bird" is both a coming-of-age film and a dark mother-daughter comedy that stars the gifted young actress Soarise Ronan ("Brooklyn," 2015) in the title role. For the first half, the high school senior struggles credibly, acerbically and thoughtfully, to fashion a coherent, authentic version of the person she wants to be. She dates charming Danny (Lucas Hedges), only to discover he plays for the other team. She lets herself go in poignant and hilarious drama club performances starring her chubby girlfriend (a scene-stealing Beanie Feldstein). She wishes she were anywhere else than boring Sacramento, California.

In the midst of an extraordinary performance, Ronan is abandoned by Greta Gerwig's witty but sometimes reckless script, which has Lady Bird saying and doing things that violate her smart and aware essence. She cheats and lies. She steals and dates a self-obsessed outlier (Timothée Chalamet). In an out-of-character moment, she interrupts the anti-abortion assembly speaker at her Catholic high school with a vile and vulgar diatribe. It would be comforting to know that these and other expressions of teenage angst will result in a certain maturation, but the ending undermines any such closure.

The script doesn't do any better by her one-dimensional parents. Dad (Tracy Letts) is sappy nice, even after he loses his job. Mom (Laurie Metcalf), although a psychiatric nurse, is unrelentingly nasty and mean-spirited to Lady Bird. In one scene, she berates her daughter for using two towels while bathing, claiming the extra towel will wreak havoc with her laundry routine. At a critical juncture, she refuses to talk to her, apparently for weeks.

Writer-director Gerwig, known mostly as a talented young actress, has been widely praised by critics and filmgoers for the script and directing. The cast is loaded with star power. For all that, "Lady Bird" is not this year's "Moonlight."

Reviewed by: William Graebner and Dianne Bennett
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