Before November: “You mean Lady Bird isn’t a biography about Hank Hill’s dog?” After November: “You mean Lady Bird is going to break a Rotten Tomatoes record?” Like a whippoorwill screeching against the wind shear of cultural mediocrity (just go with this), Lady Bird has emerged as the critics’ new movie darling, supplanting Toy Story 2 as the movie with the most consecutive Fresh reviews and zero Rotten reviews against it.
1999’s Toy Story 2 originally made the record with 163 Fresh reviews. And today, Lady Bird — Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age circa 2002 film, starring Saoirse Ronan — sets the new standard with 164 Fresh reviews (and counting). Note the and counting: The movie’s Tomatometer score will be subject to change as it continues to platform from limited release, likely into the next year.
But who’s thinking about 2018? Right now we’re celebrating the moment, and Gerwig herself is singing.
“This is completely amazing and so incredibly appreciated by the entire team that made Lady Bird,” Gerwig said exclusively to RT, “We put our heart and souls into this movie, and the last step of this deeply collaborative art form of filmmaking is giving the film to the audience and the film critics. That there has been such a warm reception is a dream come true. Thank you to everyone who has seen the film and has written about it so thoughtfully. We are all on cloud nine and using our tomato emoji more than we ever thought possible.”
So what is Lady Bird? It’s the solo directorial debut of Gerwig, former mumblecore queen and center of recent films by Rebecca Miller, Mike Mills, and Noah Baumbach. It stars Saoirse Ronan (Best Actress-nominated just two years ago for Brooklyn) navigating late adolescence in post-9/11 Sactown, Calif. Here’s what the critics are saying:
[She] just seems to keep getting better all the time. She handles her many throwaway lines with great aplomb — they always land.
– Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
In Ronan’s marvelous performance, tough and transparent at the same time, we can see the blurred outlines of the equally assured filmmaker behind her.
– Ty Burr, Boston Globe
A resoundingly modern, assuredly female-voiced comedy that portends more great things to come from Gerwig behind the camera.
– Sara Stewart, New York Post
It is also one of the better solo directing debuts by an actor in recent memory. Hardly a false step is taken by Greta Gerwig in her semi-autobiographical script.
– Susan Wloszczyna, RogerEbert.com
Metcalf [practically] vibrates with equal measures of endless love and profound irritation.
– Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times
Metcalf [is given] the rare opportunity to dig into her talents on the big screen in the way she gets to on stage and television.
– Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
Joining the ranks of The Diary of a Teenage Girl and The Edge of Seventeen as a refreshing woman-centered coming-of-age film (and offering more depth than either), Lady Bird captures a recent era with precision and a hint of nostalgia that’s not distracting.
– Tomris Laffly, Time Out
Among the many details that give weight and specificity to Gerwig’s portrait of middle-class American girlhood is the attention she pays to the tenuousness of such categories as ‘middle class.’ The film is set in 2002 and 2003, just after 9/11 and a few years before the financial crash.
– Dana Stevens, Slate
(And for those keeping record at home: Get Out, the other game changer from earlier in 2017, got 153 consecutive Fresh reviews before hitting its first Rotten review. That movie currently stands at 99% with an overall 289 Fresh reviews and 2 Rotten.)
You can see Lady Bird in theaters now, where it expanded into wide release this past weekend.