Lady Bird Blu-ray Review

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Rebellious Lady

Under 90-minutes long, Lady Bird’s rapid-fire slices of early 2000s teenage existence captures figments of real life. It’s sensational in terms of totality.

Self-named Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) has the traits of a typical indie coming-of-age protagonist. She feuds with her overly critical mother. High school relationships suffer. She’s fighting against her fading faith. Finding a prom dress? Pure crisis.

It’s the deft touch and wit that elevates Lady Bird. Emotions turn from heated teen daughter versus mother arguments into immediate agreement. Broken high school flings battle social norms, including Lady Bird’s boyfriend accepting he’s gay. Those little slices of key events, minutes long at the most, serve as a smartly composed catch-all.

With the backdrop of 2002, the Iraq war blaring in the background via ambient newscasts, Lady Bird skims the advent of joined-at-the-hip technology. The internet still seems new. No one in Lady Bird’s family carries a cell phone yet. Funny how long ago this setting seems.

Lady Bird is a film about the people we meet, the bonds we form, and how we often let them go in the process of finding ourselves

Connections to actual people remain. Lady Bird is a film about the people we meet, the bonds we form, and how we often let them go in the process of finding ourselves. That no longer happens the same way. Lady Bird is passionately physical and close. There’s no electronic distance, and dealing with problems demands a face-to-face, not text-to-text.

All of this happens with an eccentric but honest point of view. In the middle is Lady Bird, coming from a barely surviving, middle class family, shoved into a high-class Sacramento suburb, surrounded by luxurious homes. She goes to a private school, an outcast among the religiously compliant, desperate for an escape even if she never can decide to where.

Everything innovative about Lady Bird comes in the form of dialog and timing. The rest isn’t particularly new. The indie flavoring and quiet, often contemplative scenery doesn’t revolutionize the genre. It’s openly veracious though about a woman’s turn toward adulthood. Interactions, sometimes cold, sometimes warm, play with truth. Lady Bird’s brushed with reality and experiences that capture the totality of teenage awkwardness in a way few films ever seem so capable of.

Video

Shot digitally with Alexa, Lady Bird doesn’t look like a typical digital production. It’s messy, with a heavy grain filter laid over the image. Lionsgate’s encode handles things well, rarely finding itself struggling to resolve this source. Rarely does the imagery devolve into visible noise.

Banding is an issue though, notable during tryouts for the school play. The black backdrop – not quite true black – reveals some distracting, flickering banding. That’s hard to miss.

The design of Lady Bird is such that writer/director Greta Gerwig and cinematographer Sam Levy wanted the film to have the appearance of a “memory.” That result is a soft image, a sort of throwback to early digital days. Fidelity weakly pokes through. Close-ups and exteriors sag in resolution, but coupled with the added grain, it’s an appealing look.

This all comes paired with attractive color palette. Pastel hues and faded primaries marry into a bright image, albeit one lacking in contrast. Black levels stay reserved, avoiding extremes and leaving Lady Bird dry.

Audio

A handful of music cues perk up the soundfield and activate the low-end. The rest of Lady Bird’s indifferent audio mix matches the attitude of the main character. Center-loaded and using the extended front soundstage only as required, expect minimal movement.

That’s not necessarily a disappointment considering the genre, style, and tone, but even when around party atmospheres, surrounds offer no support. It’s a bland mix.

Extras

It’s a bland set of bonuses too, with a commentary from Greta Gerwig and Sam Levy, followed by a fine making-of, Realizing Lady Bird. Given some of the production style and quality of the interviews, it’s a shame this one doesn’t run longer than 16-minutes.

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional nine uncompressed Lady Bird screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 10,000+ already in our library), exclusive UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.