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Is Lady Bird Based on the Director’s Life?

May 4, 2023


Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan, was a coming-of-age movie about the titular Lady Bird, who was juggling her strained mother-daughter relationship with her attempt to foster a popular social status in her strict all-girls private Catholic school. At first glance, of course, the storyline of the movie appears more grounded, especially when compared to the action and fantasies that the current movies are offering. Indeed, this was precisely what drew praise from critics and audiences alike: Lady Bird had the magical ability to be as relatable as possible, while portraying characters with depth, complexity, and beauty.

Interestingly, apart from Lady Bird’s cast, characters, and story, which all had audiences raving, another noteworthy aspect that fans were eager to point out was the suspected parallels between Lady Bird’s coming-of-age and the director/writer of the film, Greta Gerwig. Yes, it has been widely believed over the years that Lady Bird was drawn from Gerwig’s life as she, too, grew up in Sacramento, California. Here’s what we know to be true in this regard.

Similarities Between Greta Gerwig and Lady Bird

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Lady Bird sheds light on the troubled yet bold protagonist of the film. As fans can recall, she was a theater enthusiast, who had long harbored a dream to escape Sacramento for cities like New York, Connecticut, or New Hampshire, where she could be close to culture and theater. By the end of the film, Lady Bird achieves this, ultimately settling in New York to begin the next chapter of her journey.

Like Christine from Lady Bird, Gerwig also grew up in Sacramento, and she, too, harbored a deep and undying love for theater. She longed to attend college in New York City, but, unfortunately, due to an unsuccessful audition at NYU and Julliard for musical theater, she couldn’t secure a seat in the programs (via CNBC). That said, Gerwig went on to graduate from Barnard College in Manhattan, one of the oldest women’s colleges in the world, in English and Philosophy.

Related: Best Women Coming-of-Age Movies, Ranked

Differences Between the Director and Protagonist

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Truly, there were some striking similarities between Lady Bird and Gerwig’s lives, but as far as the film’s events go, they were entirely fictional. In fact, aside from a few minor details (like birthplace), both of these personalities are actually polar opposites. When the questions were raised about the parallels between the director and her character, Gerwig was quick to address and refute it.

The first thing that differentiated the two was Gerwig’s appearance when she was young. She never dyed her hair red, nor did she make anyone call her by a different name. What’s more, per an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gerwig attests that she, unlike Lady Bird, was a “real rule-follower and a people-pleaser and a gold star-getter.”

Related: 8 Must-Watch Movies From Women Directors

What Events in Lady Bird Are Based on Gerwig’s Life?

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Despite all the similarities and differences between the film and the director’s life there still, the question still lingers of whether the events in the film even had a slight inspiration or connection with reality. At a New York Film press conference, the director stated clearly, “Nothing in the movie literally happened in my life, but it has a core of truth that resonates with what I know.” She further added, “It’s also a terrible thing to give someone the weight of trying to be me or trying to be my friend, and I always wanted [the actors] to have the freedom to make the person whoever they thought they should be,” (via Screen Daily).

Gerwig even shared some details with fans about what she felt about the character. She said, “Lady Bird is a flawed heroine that I invented. Even though I start with things that are close to me, they so quickly spin out and become their own characters” The director even admitted that Lady Bird was “the girl I wished I could’ve been, in a way.”

With this, one can truly come to a clear conclusion that the movie Lady Bird was never based or wholly inspired by the director’s life, instead, there was some minor overlapping with Gerwig’s life, and that was it. Lady Bird was an altogether different experience that was entirely a fictional story created by a talented writer and director.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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