Lady Bird (2017)
Lady Bird (2017)
Lady Bird (2017)
Lady Bird (2017)
Lady Bird (2017)
Lady Bird (2017)

Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar: Lady Bird

Wednesday, March 6, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm  
Instructor: Elizabeth Nathanson, Ph.D., Muhlenberg College

While we may now associate Greta Gerwig with the big budget, Mattel-produced, high-grossing film Barbie, her solo debut as a director was a quieter teenage girl’s coming-of-age story. Heralded by critics and celebrated at film festivals,  Lady Bird (2017) resulted in an Oscar nomination for Best Director, making Gerwig only the fifth woman to receive that recognition. The press celebrated the film as an autobiographical, intimate depiction of a teenage girl’s search for a sense of self, all while negotiating a complex relationship with her mother.  

In this seminar, we’ll explore the ways in which Lady Bird fits into the history of women’s cinema and maternal melodramas. The film traces a year in the life of Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) as she navigates friendships, romance, family bonds, and her desire for independence. While teenage girls and their mothers are all too often presented critically and with patronizing dismay, Gerwig grants her characters respect—particularly her women. This respect emerges through the sense of place the film imbues to Sacramento, California, and through the careful rendering of feelings that brings audiences closer to the characters’ uniquely feminine experience, investing both mother and daughter with sympathetic agency. 

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.

Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.


Course Information

$25 for members, $35 for non-members


  • Wednesday, March 6 · 6:30 pm

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