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Lady Bird (2017)

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Runtime: 1h 33min

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Plot Summary

In 2002, Christine McPherson is a senior at a Catholic high school in Sacramento, California. She gives herself the name "Lady Bird" and longs to attend a prestigious college in "a city with culture" somewhere on the east coast, despite her family's financial struggles. Her mother Marion often tells her that she is ungrateful for what she has. Lady Bird and her best friend Julie join their school theater program, where Lady Bird develops a crush on classmate Danny O'Neill. This grows into a romantic relationship, and Lady Bird disappoints Marion by spending her last Thanksgiving before graduation with Danny's wealthy family instead of her own. After the opening night of "Merrily We Roll Along," their relationship ends when Lady Bird and Julie discover her boyfriend kissing another boy in a bathroom stall.


At the behest of Marion, Lady Bird takes a job at a coffee shop; there, she meets Kyle, and they begin dating. Lady Bird abandons Julie and ditches tryouts for the new play to bond with Jenna Walton, a popular girl, and they vandalize a nun's car. As Lady Bird grows closer to Kyle and Jenna, she gradually deserts Julie, and she drops out of the theater program. She confronts Danny, but consoles him after he begins sobbing and expresses his struggle in coming out, and they become friends again.


At a house party, while kissing, Kyle implies to Lady Bird that he has never had sex; he denies having said this when she later loses her virginity to him, which upsets her, and she cries in her mom's arms afterwards. When Lady Bird is suspended from school for speaking up at a pro-life assembly, Jenna tries to visit her at home, but discovers Lady Bird had claimed Danny's grandmother's house as hers. Lady Bird admits to the lie, and Jenna agrees to forgive her because of their mutual friendship with Kyle.


Lady Bird learns that her father Larry has lost his job and has been battling depression for years. She applies to East Coast colleges, despite Marion's insistence that the family cannot afford the fees, with the help of her father, who fills out her financial aid applications without Marion knowing. Lady Bird is accepted into UC Davis, but is upset because she feels it is too close to home. Learning she is on the wait list for a New York college, she does not share the news with her mother, fearing her response. Lady Bird sets out for her prom with Kyle, Jenna, and Jenna’s boyfriend Jonah, but the other three decide to go to a house party instead. Lady Bird originally agrees, then changes her mind and speaks up, saying she actually does want to go to prom. Lady Bird asks them to drop her off at Julie's apartment, where the two rekindle their friendship and go to the prom together.


After graduation, Danny accidentally reveals Lady Bird’s place on the wait list to Marion, who stops speaking to her daughter for the rest of the summer. On her eighteenth birthday, Lady Bird's father shares a cupcake with her, and she buys a pack of cigarettes, a scratch-off ticket, and an issue of Playgirl to celebrate reaching legal adulthood. Lady Bird learns she has been accepted into the New York college, and can afford tuition with financial aid with her father's help. Her parents take her to the airport, but Marion refuses to go inside to say goodbye. She has a change of heart and drives back, only to discover Lady Bird has already gone through security. She cries in her husband's arms, who consoles her that Lady Bird will come back.


Arriving in New York, Lady Bird finds several letters in her luggage; her mother had written and discarded them, but her father salvaged them. She begins using her birth name again, and is hospitalized after drinking heavily at a party. Leaving the hospital, she visits a Presbyterian church service and is moved to tears. She calls home and leaves an apologetic voicemail for her mother, thanking her for everything she has done for her.

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