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This film is being billed as the directorial debut for Greta Gerwig. She has already been credited in the writing of a few films and co-directed a film in 2008 called Nights and Weekends.
But in terms of being a solo director, this is indeed her debut.
If you aware of Gerwig's work, then she is pretty much as indie as they come, both in her acting and general personality. The only one of her films I have seen is Frances Ha, which I felt to be a pretty good indie rom-com. Now, we have a feature that is becoming a major Oscar contender and has already won several awards elsewhere.
I was quite surprised as to how I felt after seeing this. It starts as something I expect in most coming-of-age comedy-dramas. However, it quickly quashed that feeling out of me with a lot of nice surprises and twists with many rich characters that are brilliantly developed.
All of that built up nicely into a really strong final act, and possibly one of the best of 2017.
All the actors give really strong performances and the ensemble cast is possible one of the strongest of 2017. Saoirse Ronan continues to be so god damn good in everything she does. She shows such versatility in all of her roles, and I hope to see her eventually win an Oscar for whatever she does in the future.
Both Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts were right on the money with their performances as the central characters parents. The on-screen relationship between Ronan and Metcalf's characters is the key to this films success, and it works perfectly as Ronan's scenes with Letts. It's all really touching and is emotionally strong.
Timothée Chalamet and Lucas Hedges continue to be cast in awards nominated films, and they both do a great job in their supporting roles. I think whatever they are doing next, do not be surprised if we see them feature again during awards season.
It was not until afterwards that I realised how integral Beanie Feldstein's character was in the film. She gave off a really great spark in her scenes and just further added to the realism this whole story had. Also, it was great seeing Stephen Henderson in another film, after remembering him well in last year's Fences.
Everything about it does scream coming-of-age drama, and, yet it's not one that you expect, especially one where the central character is female. These types of films usually have a romance as its main focal point. However, it explores so many more and relatable situations that someone of that age would realistically experience . It felt very fresh and extremely satisfying to watch.
There aren't any negatives that are worth affecting my score. However, I will mention that it doesn't have that conventional style of story structure where one scene flows into the next one. This one seems to be more about showing moments. It may seem odd at first, but once you get accustomed to its style, you will make sense of what is happening on screen.
It's not the type of story-telling and editing that I prefer. But I was fine with it as the strength of the story made me not care too much about that particular aspect.
I really liked this. It felt like such a honest and real depiction of coming-of-age. I might know very little about its Sacramento setting, but I can understand some of the problems our characters face.
This film really shows how Greta Gerwig thinks, as it apparently does hint at what her teenage years were like.
I think its biggest quality is that it never falls into cliches. You totally don't know what's going to happen next throughout, and the strong performances and storytelling keep you interested right through to the very end. It does start off teasing you that it could do down this generic route, but soon after that, the surprises just do not stop. I got wrapped up in their lives and got completely invested with them. When you forget you're watching actors and seeing characters instead, that means the film has totally worked.
It almost felt like a John Hughes coming-of-age drama. But this one seems to show more intelligence on a surface level. By the way, I'm not saying Hughes' film weren't intelligent. His films were more centered on comedy whereas this one is more drama-based with good moments of comedy.
I don't think this will re-write how coming-of-age dramas are written, but it certainly breaks new ground into this sub-genre.