Greta Gerwig’s charming solo directorial debut


“ANYBODY who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento.” The quote from Joan Didion (a writer who, like Greta Gerwig, was born in California’s capital) rather sets the tone of “Lady Bird”. It is a coming-of-age story, following Christine (Saoirse Ronan), a teenager longing to get away from Sacramento, which she calls the “Midwest of California”. She dreams instead of college on the east coast, to have a name different from the one her parents picked for her and to live in a big blue house with white shutters on the “right” side of the train tracks—rather than the modest dwellings her hard-up parents are able to afford.

The semi-autobiographical “Lady Bird” is Ms Gerwig’s debut as writer and solo director, but she shows the wisdom and empathy of an experienced film-maker. Each character is flawed and likable, particularly Lady Bird (Ms Ronan)—a moody, pimply teenager, who is quick-witted, mercurial and observant. Marion, her crushingly forthright mother, never shies away from…Continue reading

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Redeeming Mary Magdalene

EVERY generation of artists has brought its own sensibilities and experiences to the depiction of canonical Christian stories. Giotto, an Italian painter, set Bible scenes in medieval Tuscany. Rembrandt gave his a hint of mercantile 17th-century Amsterdam. “Mary Magdalene” is similarly a retelling of some of the faith’s main events …

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