A raw look at coming of age
Saoirse Ronan brings aimless California teen to life despite her very different upbringing
She may only be 23 years old, but Saoirse Ronan has seemed pretty determined to cover as many characters as possible in her young career.
After all, the acclaimed Irish actor has gained heaps of praise playing everything from a bloodthirsty vampire to a ruthless teenage assassin, and will soon even be portraying tragic true-life royal Mary, Queen of Scots.
Her latest film, however, is getting Ronan a staggering amount of attention simply for playing an average teen coming of age in California.
“Sometimes with coming-of-age films it can be overly dramatized or focused on the romance of one particular relationship,” said Ronan during a call from London about her upcoming dramedy, Lady Bird.
“But with this, there’s so much attention to the whole world that she’s in (that) it doesn’t feel like it’s not real; it doesn’t feel like anything’s been hyped up.”
One thing that has been “hyped up” about Lady Bird is the growing critical acclaim the film’s been receiving for its honest and endearing portrayal of the tempestuous relationship between an aimless student, who insists on being called “Lady Bird,” and her nagging, meticulous mother.
Written and directed by actorturned-filmmaker Greta Gerwig ( Frances Ha), the coming-of-age premise may sound familiar to some, but it has struck such an authentic chord that even the New York Times labelled it “big-screen perfection.”
“She’s figuring out who she is and we’re watching her do that and make mistakes and then watching her succeed,” Ronan said of the role many predict will land the actor her third Oscar nomination.
“To be someone with so much light and shade; so much self-belief and also self-doubt at the same time is real and it’s a challenge to play.”
Ronan is quick to credit Gerwig for crafting such a profound, precise character — but she also admits it was a role that wasn’t actually all that familiar to the U.K.-raised thespian.
“Growing up in America is very specific to American kids and I grew up in the countryside in Ireland,” said a laughing Ronan, who plays an American teenager living in Sacramento.
“It was cool to tap into that because that was really something I had only experienced through watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”
Saoirse Ronan, right, credits writer and director Greta Gerwig for crafting such a profound character in Lady Bird.