Analyse how the ending of the text was satisfying or frustrating.
Throughout the film Lady Bird, director Greta Gerwig utilises the character Lady Bird to explore the idea of discovering your identity. Lady Bird is constantly trying to separate herself from her mum and show she is a completely different person. However, ultimately she realises that no matter how different she tries to make herself seem, she will always be her mum’s daughter. This creates a satisfying ending to the film as Lady Bird has finally discovered who she truly is and accepted that she is a good person.
Adolescence is often a hard time because it is when you have to start growing out of your shell and make a place for yourself in this world. A big jump for most teenagers is when they have to leave the comforts of their homes and go off to university. Gerwig’s film follows Lady Bird throughout her final year of school and her leap off to college. In the opening scene, Gerwig uses a two-shot to show Lady Bird and her mum, Marion driving back from their trip to look at colleges for Lady Bird. They have spent lots of quality time together, but their facial expressions, in particular Lady Bird’s, prove that there is still lots of tension in their relationship. Lady Bird rolls her eyes at her mum and seems to create an argument out of everything. This contrasts very well to the end scene, where Gerwig cleverly uses a mid-shot to show no matter their differences and their actions, Lady Bird and Marion still love each other. The mid-shot shows Marion in her car, driving back from dropping Lady Bird at the airport. She is crying because she has just realised that her youngest daughter has left the nest and is going off to college. This shot is significant because it shows that although Marion has given Lady Bird many hard times, just like any parent, she is always trying to do the best thing for her children. This combined with the use of non-diegetic sound furthers the idea that no matter what people have done to you, you will always love your family and miss them when they’re gone. Gerwig utilises a slow, sad song to show that even though she has only been without Lady Bird for about five minutes she already misses her deeply. This creates a connection with the viewer because it expands on Gerwig’s purpose that no matter how different you are from your family, there will always be things that draw you together and strengthen your relationship. Additionally, it strenghtens the idea that you need to appreciate what you have in life because it can be taken away from you in an instant.
Sometimes it is hard to tell how much you mean to people and difficult to show our appreciation for the important people in our lives. In the ending scene, we see Lady Bird in her new apartment, unpacking her things when she finds a pile of letters that her dad salvaged from her mum. Through the use of close-ups, Gerwig shows that even when times are tough and we think there is no one who loves us, there always will be, even if they find it hard to show. The close-ups show a pile of letters written by her mum at different times, either addressed to Lady Bird, or her given name Christine. They are all lengthy letters that Marion has put effort into writing, even though she was struggling with her relationship with Lady Bird at the time. This creates a satisfying end to the film because through all the tough times Lady Bird and Marion faced, it shows they are beginning to make amends and treat each other as valued human beings. This reinforces Gerwig’s purpose that just how Lady Bird and Marion’s relationship is beautiful, rich, complex and conflictful, every relationship is as well, even if you can’t see beauty in it all the time. Additionally, Gerwig reinforces the underappreciated beauty in their relationship through the use of a mid-shot. This shot shows Lady Bird waking up in the hospital all by herself with no one to rely on. Lady Bird is realising that her life away from Sacramento is quite different to what it used to be. Although she didn’t realise it, she relied on her family and friends quite a bit and all of a sudden, they are no longer there to help and support her when she makes mistakes. Lady Bird’s facial expressions show her breathing, realising she has to get through all of this on her own and she looks sad, as there is no one to take her home and she has to walk home on her own. This further creates a satisfying ending because it shows Lady Bird beginning to understand how much her mother did for her even though she didn’t notice. This proves Gerwig’s purpose that sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and step out of our comfort zones to realise everything good in our lives and all the things the people in our lives have done for us.
It takes great courage to reconnect with people who we have hurt through our actions, even when we didn’t mean to hurt them. Through trying to discover her identity, Lady Bird really hurt her mum and was constantly trying to push her away to prove she could cope on her own. Gerwig uses a long shot to prove that Lady Bird knows she has damaged her relationship with her mum. In this shot, we see Lady Bird on the phone calling her parents, but her body language shows that she is nervous about doing this because she doesn’t know how her parents are going to react after everything she has done to them. It shows this because she is shaking her legs as if she doesn’t know what to say and is hunched over into the phone showing she feels somewhat vulnerable calling her parents. Additionally, the dialogue Gerwig has crafted adds to this satisfying end to the film because after she has realised who she truly is and all the hurtful actions she has committed towards the people who love her, she is trying to make amends and make it up to them. Lady Bird calls her parents and says, “Hi Mom and Dad, it’s me, Christine. It’s the name you gave me. It’s a good one….I wanted to tell you I love you. Thank you. I’m… thank you.” This proves that Lady Bird has grown up since she left home and has started taking responsibility for her actions and realised the damage she has caused to her parents. This line of dialogue creates a satisfying end to the film because throughout the whole film Lady Bird is discovering her identity and it shows that she has finally discovered who she truly is and does not need to be hidden behind her nickname Lady Bird anymore, she has grown out of it and can now be called Christine. This is an important lesson for all of us within society because it proves that in order to find out who we are, we need to go through struggles, fail in order to be able to build ourselves up again and realise the changes we need to make.
It is a struggle for everyone to grow out of their shell throughout adolescence, but when we come out the other side we are grateful for our struggles because they result in personal growth. The ending scene in the film Lady Bird creates a satisfying end to the film because it shows how much personal growth Lady Bird has had. She is now a responsible, caring adult who wants to make up for everything she has done over the past year and the people she has hurt. This provokes an important idea for society that in order to be happy we need to take the time to discover our identity and figure out the person we aspire to be. It also shows that it is important to realise that all actions have consequences and we need to make sure we are not hurting people along the way because sometimes relationships do not bounce back through difficult times.