José Reyes, Junior
I am a firm believer that everyone has a comfort film, a visual piece that grounds them no matter their place. Since 2008 I believed that my comfort film was, and would always be, “Twilight.” Something about this alternate reality, where vampires and werewolves co-existed was captivating to my seven-year-old brain. Stephenie Meyer either wrote about this world perfectly or I just had an obsession with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart at a young age. This is a dilemma that I may never come to terms with, but ultimately I have given up.
A comfort film is one that you resonate with. You can see yourself in the film, the story is your story. The bond that it has with you is inextinguishable because it makes you feel seen. See, this is why “Twilight” is not actually my comfort film. Realistically, I do not have a connection with any of the characters and the plotline does not resemble any part of my life. My brain confused this infatuation with this mystical world with the previous feelings described. The “Twilight Saga” will remain in my Letterboxd favorites list, but that is it.
The other night I re-watched Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird,” a film that is filled with a load of teenage angst and that I have watched countless times. This drama captures the story of a teenage girl, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, as she navigates the positives and negatives of senior year of high school. It quickly kicks-off with Lady Bird, played by Saoirse Ronan, sliding out of her mother’s moving vehicle to prove some point. It is a scene that leaves viewers with their mouths open. Lady Bird, however, is just being herself. She is completely dramatic and enraged with her mother’s lack of understanding. She is being reactionary and not thinking through what she is doing. This is exactly how the teenage brain functions at seventeen. Teenagers do not stop to think about the consequences of their actions even if at times it could be lethal.
Gerwig’s writing created a world and characters that I saw myself living in, because I shared these feelings and experiences. She let the world in this film and its characters unveil themselves. She did not tell us who they were, she showed us.
Ronan’s character goes through a series of issues. She wants love, attention and a perfect house with perfect parents. Instead, Lady Bird gets her actual mom, a dad who lost his job and, sadly, boyfriends who are kind of a mess. She is constantly trying to put her life together while not recognizing what is going on around her.
Lady Bird’s father lost his job and it put him in an even tighter position with money. He has his own issues coming at him from every angle and Lady Bird at times adds to it. She makes comments about living on the wrong side of the tracks, asks her father to drop her off a block away from school and even skips out on Thanksgiving dinner.
Her perspective until the last act of the film is narrow. Subconsciously, she refuses to see outside her own perspective. This relationship with the world is one that teenagers all over experience. They do not consider what is going on around them until they are forced to deal with the real world. This is what happens to Lady Bird when her mother sits her down and tells her about her father’s depression. It is not until then that Lady Bird starts to think about the world outside of herself.
The first time I watched this film I had to sit back and reflect. Throughout the entire movie I kept agreeing with Lady Bird, I was on her side and also felt like the world did not understand her. It was not until this scene, that I also began to reflect on how ignorant I had been when taking into account my relationship with my father and other similar figures. Gerwig allows for the viewer to see themselves through Lady Bird because the lessons she learns are ones that each of us have to learn at one point or another.
The first time I watched “Lady Bird,” I was 17 and a senior in high school. I was unsure about where to go to college and was balancing the different relationships in my life. It was through this film that I was able to take a step back and realize that I was going to make mistakes and that I would have to be comfortable growing and learning from them. “Lady Bird” is not a movie about vampires, werewolves and love, but it is about life, learning and making mistakes. This movie is officially my comfort film and I invite each of you to discover yours.