Lady Bird is real-deal naturalism, a kind of 400 Blows-level vision of mother-daughter sturm und drang. Unfettered American heartland realism, no bullshit, perfectly performed, edgy but open-hearted, unsullied by magical realism, no script problems to speak of, and beautifully shot with blue-ish, stressed, film-like colors.
Why are you undecided, Academy? Is this or this is not The Year of the Woman? This is your default, your compromise, the movie you’ll proudly stand by five or 20 years hence. A little local movie that is actually “big” in a kind of Delbert Mann Marty sense — a movie that tells the truth, owns its own turf, doesn’t play games.