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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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Redshirt sophomore pitcher Phil Fox (28) pitches during a game against UVA at Cost Field on March 25.
Pitt baseball’s midseason misfortunes ruin promising season
By Matthew Scabilloni, Assistant Sports Editor • May 28, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant 51ӰԺ Editor • May 23, 2024

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Redshirt sophomore pitcher Phil Fox (28) pitches during a game against UVA at Cost Field on March 25.
Pitt baseball’s midseason misfortunes ruin promising season
By Matthew Scabilloni, Assistant Sports Editor • May 28, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant 51ӰԺ Editor • May 23, 2024

Meaning at the Movies | Lady Bird: Longing & Leaving

Meaning at the Movies is a biweekly blog that analyzes the depth and beauty behind different films.
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I can’t end the year in good conscience without talking about my favorite movie in the entire world — “Lady Bird.” 

This movie means everything to me. Without it, I simply would not be me. When I find myself wanting to write about it, I’m faced with this intense depth of emotion and a loss for words to fully explain it. 

I’ve been a movie person my entire life. I grew up watching movies and have such a profound love and adoration for them. Still, no film has ever affected me as deeply or meant as much to me as “Lady Bird” does. There is something about it that speaks to my soul, to the very center of my being — something that makes me feel seen, loved and better understood. 

“Lady Bird” follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson as she moves through her senior year of high school, planning to escape from her family and town to go to college in New York, much to the disapproval of her strong-willed mother. 

I see so much of myself, not just in Lady Bird as a character, but also in her story as a whole. Whenever I talk about her character, I always say something along the lines of, “She is me and I am her.” From her stubborn personality to her relationship with her mother and the conflicting feelings about her hometown, there are many parts of Lady Bird that are pieces of me too. Watching that movie and loving that character so very much has allowed me to better see and understand myself and how I exist within the world.

I don’t think I’d end up being the version of me that I am without this movie. This movie gave me language for how deeply and ferociously I love my mother while also still wrestling with explosive and messy feelings within our relationship. 

“Lady Bird” showed me how much a person can love home and still desperately need to leave, and how somehow between the two there exists a perpetual space of longing. The film offers so much grace — to change, to grow, to be imperfect. It is unflinching in the idea that you will have to do things wrong, and you will have to ask for forgiveness, but some of the most beautiful and meaningful moments in life stem from that. 

There are few things I think about quite as often as the final monologue of the film. Lady Bird calls her mother, having found the letters her mother never sent tucked into her suitcase. At this moment, her mother doesn’t answer the phone, and instead, Lady Bird leaves her a message saying, “Hi Mom and Dad, it’s me, Christine. It’s the name you gave me. It’s a good one. Dad, this is more for Mom. Hey, Mom, did you feel emotional the first time that you drove in Sacramento? I did, and I wanted to tell you, but we weren’t really talking when it happened. All those bends I’ve known my whole life, and stores, and the whole thing. But I wanted to tell you I love you. Thank you, I’m… thank you.” 

This is the moment that makes an already perfect movie into my favorite movie in the world. This final monologue is the crux of the entire film — the understanding of Lady Bird and her entire journey hinges upon these last few sentences. With the power of the film behind it, this moment is emblematic of Lady Bird’s evolving relationship with her mother, herself and her home. 

Throughout the entire film, Lady Bird and her mother Marion are shown to be locked into both togetherness and intense conflict. The two so clearly and deeply love each other, but both are also incredibly stubborn, enraged and misunderstood. Lady Bird is attempting to intensely push away from her mother, while her mother wants to do anything she can to hold her tighter. These expectations and ideals collide throughout the film until Lady Bird and Marion stop talking. Yet, the final section of the film is a way of bringing the pair back together, showing that Lady Bird had to leave to realize all her mother is to her. 

This realization is also paired with an understanding that she does harbor real, true love for her home. When Lady Bird is on this phone call, the scene is intercut with shots of her driving through Sacramento, followed by shots of Marion driving. At this moment, the pair are not only tied together through the phone but also through the image of each woman in the car, each woman in the space of Sacramento. Lady Bird had to leave in order to realize all that she would miss. 

When I was applying to college, I was desperate to leave Ohio. I just wanted to get out, to be somewhere new and completely different from everything I knew. So I left. I came to college and found out just how much love I had for a place that I was so desperate to leave. I discovered that somehow, through feelings that I definitely couldn’t explain, I missed the corn fields, the 20 minute drive to my favorite coffee shop and the bike trail that I had walked for so long. 

I missed so much more than just my friends and family — there were these little moments, the bends and the stores that I’d known for so long that I missed. But I would have never known it if I had never left. I, just like Lady Bird, had to go out in search of something new to see how much I love where I come from. 

Leaving brought me a bigger and greater appreciation for my family. Becoming an independent person comes with the occasional butting of heads, and there still are things that are difficult about my relationship with my parents. However, the space for me to breathe on my own has allowed me to love them more and even to see more things from their perspectives. I had to stand on my own to know just how much they had helped me get there and just how much I would do for them. 

This movie has been a guiding light in helping me to understand myself and my journey. There’s so many more things I could say about this, so many other scenes, moments and characteristics that mean so much to me, but for now, let me say this — I am so thankful for films that help us better understand ourselves and our world. I am even more grateful for all that “Lady Bird” has done for me.