Lady Bird: Self-determination for a New Century

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Universally lauded for its script and performances, as well as the consecration of debut writer-director Greta Gerwig as a major talent in American independent cinema, Lady Bird (Gerwig, 2017) is much more than a semi-autobiographical growing-up story of a young woman in Sacramento. Indeed, it is also a portrait of an American youth subculture struggling to assert its identity between the shock of 9/11 in 2001 and the global financial crisis of 2008. Structured to emulate the evolving conscience and emerging consciousness of the film’s eponymous protagonist, this new volume in the Cinema and Youth Cultures series examines sensitive matters of class, education, religion and the economy in the film in relation to female subjectivity and the context of its being set in 2002 and made in 2017. Written by an expert on American independent cinema and the dynamics of World Cinema, this volume raises questions of gender, morality and identity that are threaded throughout the film and, by aligning the dialogue and actions of Lady Bird with feminist ideas and libertarian philosophies, reveals the tensions that have both guided and complicated her youth subculture’s attempts at self-determination for a new century. Exploring the influences on Lady Bird of other films and literature, and popular music too (Alanis Morissette, Dave Matthews Band, Stephen Sondheim), as well as the career of Gerwig, her film’s aesthetic innovations, its production and distribution history (particularly the rise of the A24 company) and the context of women’s independent filmmaking in the 2010s and 2020s, this book holds Lady Bird to be testament to a subsection of American youth culture that tasked itself with self-determination for a new century.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages176
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Oct 2022

Publication series

NameCinema and Youth Cultures

Bibliographical note

Not yet published as of 23/08/2022. Expected publication date: 31/10/2022.


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