10 Best Lady Bird Moments

2. Lady Bird Jumps Out of a Moving Vehicle

In the beginning of the film, Lady Bird and her mother are on their way home from a college tour. After listening to “The Grapes of Wrath” on audio cassette, Lady Bird and her mom get into a fight. It’s such an instant switch: a shift in tone or conversation that mothers and daughters know all too well and perfectly sets up Marion and Lady Bird’s relationship.

When Marion starts to question Lady Bird’s ability to get into an East Coast liberal arts college – her dream – Lady Bird responds to her mother’s intense criticism by literally throwing herself out of the moving car.

It’s such a perfect first scene. It grabs you immediately and catches you off guard. It’s hilarious and horrifying, and Laurie Metcalf’s facial expression is priceless. Gerwig does such a fantastic job of setting up the main conflict of the movie with this moment.

1 Lady Bird Calls Home

In the end, Lady Bird gets exactly what she wanted: she is accepted into a college in New York and packs all of her stuff up and heads to the East Coast. She paints over everything in the bedroom – a clean slate – and leaves the only home she has ever known.

After a night of too much drinking lands her in the emergency room, she finds herself wandering around Manhattan and stumbles upon a church. Though it’s not something she seemed to care about in the past, she goes inside, comforted by the familiar space.

Outside, she calls her home. “It’s Christine,” she tells the answering machine. It’s the name her parents gave her. Maybe it’s not such a bad name after all. She asks her mom if she felt emotional driving in Sacramento for the first time. The scene cuts to Lady Bird driving under the golden California sun light, finally traveling by herself the roads she has known her whole life. She passes familiar stores and landmarks. It’s a beautiful moment, the colors are warm. The scene quickly cuts from Lady Bird driving to Marion driving and then back again.

It’s a moment of realization. Maybe her and her mom aren’t so different. Maybe she did love Sacramento – she just had to leave in order to see that clearly. Even though she knows what home feels like now, it’s too late. High school’s over. She can never go back again.

Recommended for you: Greta Gerwig: The Essential Collection

“Nothing in the movie literally happened in my life,” Gerwig told IndieWire at the time Lady Bird was released, “but it has a core of truth that resonates with what I know.”

That truth has certainly resonated with audiences as well. From moments of hilarity and levity to moments of pain and disappointment, Lady Bird is a seminal coming-of-age story and a love letter to the people and places that make us who we are.

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