Could I please have some feedback on this Lady Bird Essay? What grade would I get for it?

Analyse how ideas in the text were made relevant to New Zealand today.

“Ideas” may refer to character, theme, or setting.

Everybody has parents. However, that does not mean that we necessarily have a good relationship with our parents. Throughout the film Lady Bird, director Greta Gerwig carefully portrays the complex, yet beautiful relationship between Lady Bird and her mum, Marion. This relationship is relevant to New Zealand society because it proves the importance of parental relationships and the idea that no matter how hard you try to push your parents away, they will always be there for you.

Lady Bird and Marion are both similar people. This is clearly set out in the opening scene while they are on Lady Bird’s College tour. Gerwig combines a two-shot with the use of diegetic sound as they are listening to a cassette of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. This suggests the idea that they have a strong relationship as they are bonding in the car. They both are crying due to the depth of the audiobook and are both actively engaged in this activity. This proves they are similar people because they are both happy participating in the same activity and seem to enjoy each other’s company. However, when the audiobook finishes, the viewer becomes aware of the other side of their relationship. Lady Bird and Marion’s relationship is full of tension. Marion is trying to do what is best for Lady Bird, but Lady Bird doesn’t see this and is constantly trying to push her mum away. When Lady Bird says, “I wanna go where culture is like New York, or at least Connecticut or New Hampshire.” It shows disrespect towards her family because her parents have put so much effort into raising her and she is suggesting to them that what they have done for her is not good enough. This idea is relevant to New Zealand society because often as teenagers we forget that our parents are human too. They do some much and sacrifice so many things for us and sometimes we forget that the whole universe doesn’t revolve around us. As children, we need to remember to be grateful for our parents and everything they do for us because they will not be around forever.

We are further exposed to the complexity of Lady Bird and Marion’s parental relationship when Marion takes Lady Bird ball dress shopping. Although they may have slightly different opinions on the ball dress Lady Bird should wear, this occasion is still a special moment of bonding. Throughout this scene, we see a mid-shot of Marion leaning against the wall by the changing room holding some ball dresses, with Lady Bird coming in and out trying on different dresses. Lady Bird is going to the ball with Kyle and although they are not together anymore, Marion still cares about Lady Bird and tells her, “I’d still like to meet him.” This proves that Marion cares about Lady Bird and only wants the best for her. Once Lady Bird has found the dress she wants, a pink ball dress, she goes back into the changing room to get changed and while this is occurring, she has an intimate conversation with her mum and says, “I wished that you liked me.” This shows a lot of vulnerability by admitting this to her mum and relates to New Zealand society because often as New Zealand children, we would rather be liked than loved by our parents because it gives us a sense of belonging and self-worth when we know that our parents like us for the people we are, rather than loving us just because we are there children. This suggests the idea that within society it is important to show love, kindness and care because you never know how much of an impact giving even a small compliment can have on a person and the difference it can make to their life.

The unflawed beauty of Lady Bird and Marion’s relationship is clearly shown when Lady Bird’s parents drive her to the airport on her way off to college. Marion does not get out of the car to take Lady Bird to the gate. Not because Marion doesn’t love her, but instead because Marion loves her so much that she can’t bear to see her leave. The intimacy of their relationship is shown through the combination of non-diegetic sound and a mid-shot. We see a mid-shot of Marion driving away, she begins to cry showing that she already misses Lady Bird. This is combined with a sad song proving that Marion is going to miss her daughter so much. This is relatable to New Zealand society because like many places, when our children get old enough they will move out and since there are not very many universities in New Zealand, if you do not live in a big city, your children will have to move away to further their studies, but as parents, often the hardest thing is seeing your children leave, even if it is to follow their dreams. The intimacy of their relationship is further shown after Lady Bird has moved to New York, gone to a party, gets drunk and wakes up in the hospital. When Lady Bird is walking home, she stops in a Church before calling her parents, “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 she has finally discovered who she is and has realised an appreciation for her mum and everything she has done for her. Although Lady Bird’s call has gone to voicemail, this is a beautiful moment between Lady Bird and her mum because it proves that Lady Bird is trying to make amends with her mum and mend the breaks in the relationship from her constantly pushing her mum away. This proves the idea that no matter how hard you push someone away, if they truly love you they will stay by your side and be there for you when you realise your mistakes. Just like how no matter what you do and who you become, your parents will always be there for you.

The beautiful, complex relationship between Lady Bird and her mum is cleverly developed throughout the duration of the film. Although Lady Bird and Marion have their ups and downs, they will always be there for each other which is shown in the closing scene when they make amends for everything they have done. The idea of parental relationships is important within New Zealand society because everybody will have some sort of relationship with their parents or parental figures and these relationships shape us to be the people we will be in the future. Our parents are our role models, our caregivers and our friends, but most importantly they will always be there for us. Gerwig suggests the idea that it is vital to appreciate these relationships in our lives because you do not realise the sacrifices these people have made for you. Additionally, you never know what will happen in the future, so it is important to appreciate them while you have them.

Kiā ora
In the introduction you have clearly addressed the questions - The idea and the relevance to NZ. Perhaps you could add a small comment on the Director’s purpose - was to explore the intricacies of the parent, teenage daughter relationship, the way personalities connect, clash and develop - which are generally universal. The mention of the purpose helps lead to the perceptive comments of Merit and Excellence.
You structure the response well and your examples and techniques are interwoven well. The two parts of the question were assimilated in every paragraph and there is a strong personal voice.
Overall a sound essay.
Hope this helps
JD :grinning: