Lady Bird (2017, Greta Gerwig)

Gerwig has assimilated the awkward realness of Noah Baumbach’s characters with the visual charm of Wes Anderson, and given Saoirse Ronan an even better showcase than Brooklyn. Saoirse Ronan dates nice guy Lucas Hedges (Manchester, Three Billboards) and hangs with best friend Julie, then gives them up for bad boy Kyle (Call Me By Your Name star Timothée Chalamet) and popular girl Jenna, realizing her mistake and rejoining her friend in time for the school prom before she leaves town for a college her parents can’t really afford. She feuds with her mom Laurie Metcalf (that bonkers episode of Horace and Pete), and they don’t quite make up in time, but quietly depressed dad Tracy Letts (schoolmaster of Indignation) sends his daughter a touching present of all the letters mom half-wrote her daughter and threw away. I have no problem believing that precocious Saoirse is a coming-of-age Gerwig stand-in. High school dramas aren’t usually my favorite things, but I can’t ignore something this smart and perfectly made, and Katys are raving that it’s an amazingly accurate portrayal of a mother/daughter relationship.