A coming of age film set in the mid-2000s, Lady Bird follows the senior year of a student as she resists the soul-crushing conformity of her Catholic high school. Several key themes in this film are deviance, identity, and social class. Lady Bird comes from a working-class family experiencing downward mobility which sets her aside from the more privileged students at her private school. As a result, she periodically attempts to pass as economically-secure, and nowhere is this more evident than in her pursuit of popular friends.
This scripted film depicts the rise and fall of Tonya Harding through documentary-style “interviews” with her family and friends. Tonya’s life is marred by “the incident” where her main competitor is disabled by a pair of amateur hitmen. The film captures the iconic scene nicely as well— whereas crimes are usually depicted smoothly in film, we are treated to the sloppy reality of the incident and the sheer stupidity of those responsible.
This documentary forces the viewer to contemplate criminal responsibility and the inadequacies of our current system in dealing with victims of abuse. It also make one contemplate the power of modern medicine as an institution, as hundreds of healthcare professionals must have encountered Gypsy without becoming suspicious.
By far, this was my favorite film of 2017/18. Though it was shunned by mainstream awards committees, I bet the sociologist in you will find this more true-to-life than any other film from last year. Furthermore, this would be an excellent movie to show to students of sociology because it exhibits so many concepts and social problems. Yet what makes this film particularly beautiful is that the characters exhibit agency and empathy in their complex relationships.