We Need More Complex Mother/Daughter Relationships Onscreen

In the opening of Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, Saoirse Ronan’s teenage character, Christine, and her careworn mother. Marion, listen tearfully to a radio play in the car. For that moment, they’re more open with each other than they are with anyone else, owning a casual intimacy that can only arrive through a lifetime of love and close proximity.

The play finishes and Christine (or “Lady Bird”) instantly reaches for a different channel, while Laurie Metcalf’s Marion suggests—well,...

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