Lady Bird: A Millennial Coming-of-Age Story

Intro by Brandon

Lady Bird is probably one of my favorite movies. It’s a Millennial coming of age story, and it’s written and directed by a real Millennial—something we haven’t seen in a lot of similar stories. As such, there are a lot of personal touches in the film that a lot of us Millennials dealt with growing up that are hard to describe but, oddly, easy to relate to. Couple that with some smart humor and you’ve got a pretty amazing film.

The plot follows Christine McPherson, or Lady Bird, as she has named herself. Lady Bird is a senior in high school who wants to leave her hometown and be her own person. To do that, though, she has to deal with her own academic ineptitude, her youthful naivety, a major financial recession, and a mother who just doesn’t seem to be pleased with anything she does. None of these things represent an insurmountable task, but the film is more about the journey than the destination and who Lady Bird is along the way.

If you haven’t seen this, it’s an excellent movie, and Maria and I were hard pressed to find anything negative to say about it. It doesn’t spell things out for you, though. Not that it’s particularly hard to understand or enjoy, but there’s more going on here than a story about a teenage girl. The film is subtle and smart in a way that many coming of age films flounder.

Maria spends some time talking about shame, which is something Lady Bird experiences but doesn’t really talk about. The realness of the shame in this film was no doubt helped by the fact that there was a female protagonist, directed and written by a woman—a rarity in the film world. I spend some time talking about how this film encapsulates the experience many Millennials had growing up, and what we’re still putting up with today. Spoiler alert: Millennials put up with a lot growing up, and it’s made many of us reluctant to accept the label.

So, I don’t have a witty lead in for this one, but this is a film that Maria and I both related to on a pretty personal level. I hope you enjoy our thoughts on it in this episode of Peculiar Picture Show, the podcast that talks about movies, maladies, and mental health.

Show Summary


General: An intellectual film about growing up

Brandon: Instantly related to it; only movie about high school that makes me miss high school

Maria: Takes place in Sacramento, 2002; directed by Greta Gerwig; nominated for several Academy Awards; coming-of-age story; probably biased since we are writers/artists

Like: Realistic portrayal of shame, with lots of personal touches

Brandon: Writing; directing; details; seemed very real, especially about Christian teenagers; humor; the character Lady Bird; relatable

Maria: Out of all films we’ve seen so far, this might be the one I relate to the most; had similar feelings that Lady Bird did, like feelings of shame about house, not having much money, wanting to leave hometown; writing; dialogue; acting; everything

Dislike: Not much to hate

Brandon: Nothing

Maria: Nothing; I can’t imagine someone not enjoying it

Mental Health: Shame, emotional labor, and Millennial mental health

Brandon: Emotional labor; Millennial coming-of-age story

Maria: Effects of shame/guilt on mental health


Brandon: Every woman understands the concept of putting in emotional labor to keep other people happy; whereas with men, it’s kinda seen as a virtue to not care about that.

Brandon: That’s what this movie is: a chance for Millennials to define for themselves what [the label of Millennials] means.

Next time

Taxi Driver (1976) vs. Almost Famous (2000)

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