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Thoughts on the Movie "Lady Bird" and the Portrayal of the College Search Process

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Replies to: Thoughts on the Movie "Lady Bird" and the Portrayal of the College Search Process

  • natty1988natty1988 Registered User Posts: 570 Member
    @katliamom yes it is a good idea, when it's affordable and the money works out
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 20,519 Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    As the single parent of a California daughter who was equally determined to head to New York for college, both I and my daughter found the movie very realistic and true to life. And Barnard was definitely affordable to us with financial aid. To me, a strength of the movie was the father's trip to the bank to arrange a home equity loan. It showed that finances were part of the equation, and many parents do choose to borrow that way.

    I'd add that back in the early 2000's, full COA to Barnard and similar schools would have been around $30k. I'd guess with need-based financial aid, the family might have been expected to come up with less than half of that. (I have a son who started college in 2001, and applied to multiple LAC's with the specific strategy of comparing awards, so pretty good sense of the finances) Given the father's unemployment, the family would clearly have qualified for need-based aid.

    It's not merely a matter of geographical distance; it is also a cultural/social distance. The opening sequence makes it clear that is what motivates LB after a tour of California campuses far enough away to require an overnight stay in a motel room ...so probably a visit to southern California campuses.
  • natty1988natty1988 Registered User Posts: 570 Member
    @calmom well said. That said, movies do often gloss things over and parents shouldn't use this movie or any other as guidance of how to pay for college
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 20,519 Senior Member
    I think other movies (and tv programs) actually gloss things over more - both as to financial considerations and as to the ease of getting into college. I mean, how many movies depict kids getting easily accepted into big-name schools without any concern at all over finances?

    Obviously it is a movie and not a documentary, but I think that Lady Bird did a good job of showing the inner conflict within the family over the college application process and ultimate choices. Given that it was autobiographical, I think a lot of it was probably drawn from Greta Gerwig's real-life memories or experiences. I'm sure that that specific dialogue and scenes were fictional and written for dramatic effect-- but there are probably many kernels of truth underlying the plot and relationships. I know that my relationship with my daughter is nothing like the mother/daughter relationship in the film.... but I very much remember experiencing the same emotions over the impending college separation, both as a parent and as a daughter a generation earlier. (And we had all the same family fights at one point or another)

    My daughter and I saw the movie at different times and then had a very long (and rather draining) conversation that started with us sharing our mutual enjoyment of the movie, and devolved into our reliving and rehashing some of our own mother-daughter conflicts from daughter's high school years. So at least for us, it hit very close to home even though I am polar opposite of the movie mom as to the degree of encouragement and support I gave to my daughter, who was testing limits from a much younger age. (But - ouch! -- there were plenty of moments when I said very similar things to my daughter -- like the prom dress shopping scene).
  • natty1988natty1988 Registered User Posts: 570 Member
    @calmom you are right that it does portray it more realistically then a lot of movies do...
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,833 Senior Member
    I didn't find it realistic that she struggled in math, didn't take school very seriously, and got into top schools.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,619 Senior Member
    Didn't she only get into Davis and finally off the WL, Barnard? They were easier to get into back then.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 20,519 Senior Member
    My daughter had significant weaknesses in math (no high school math beyond advanced algebra, Math SAT 580) and was admitted RD to Barnard, as well as to several UC campuses, several years later than the time frame of the movie. Barnard's admit rate during the early 2000's would have been at least 35%, maybe higher. So not unrealistic at all -- Barnard's admissions process has always been very holistic. I'd think that some of the passion LB showed in the opening sequence ("I want to go where culture is") might have been expressed in her essays as well. Barnard probably took a lot more students off its waitlist back on those days as well.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 20,370 Senior Member
    Plenty of schools will take lopsided students. Colleges get that profile. Some colleges don't require students to take math once they matriculate. Some do require courses with quantitative components as part of their breadth requirements but even those that do usually have courses that meet the requirement that are specifically designed for those that don't excel at math. The same holds true for writing as well. Many very successful people in life are very lopsided. They really shine and focus on one area and do quite well. I've seen plenty of direct evidence of it.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,833 Senior Member
    I didn't find the movie presented her as a lopsided student, gifted in writing, just as an average student. I thought it showed a girl not interested in high school at all, skipping school and not having a good relationship with teachers or administrators.

    But you all can think that's how catholic school in california was in 2003. Not my experience and I didn't think it was realistic. I think that the way she was in high school was probably exaggerated, that she didn't really skip school or not do homework or speak so rudely to nuns and that she was a better student than the movie showed. Really, nuns wouldn't put up with it.

  • rosered55rosered55 Registered User Posts: 4,288 Senior Member
    I enjoyed the movie even though I didn't like Lady Bird's character much.
  • jonrijonri Registered User Posts: 7,386 Senior Member
    I just saw the movie--it's now made it to the public library.

    One problem was that the trailers had been too detailed; I'd already seen most of the best parts of the film. I thought that as movies go, it was pretty realistic.

    I thought the portrayal of the friendship between Lady Bird and Julie was particular good. Lady Bird pretty much dumped Julie for Kyle and the "in crowd" and then she realizes she's made a mistake. I liked Julie's mom's tentative "there's someone here to see you." when Lady Bird shows up unexpectedly on prom night.

    As for Lady Bird's academic record, there's a comment somewhere in the movie about the essay she wrote about Sacramento for her application. It fulfills 2 roles. It's described as a love letter to , so you get the feeling that Lady Bird is more emotionally attached to Sacramento than she realizes. But it also makes it seem as if Lady Bird's strength is writing--the essay is memorable.



  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 27,901 Senior Member
    I'm sorry some UCD alums, students, fans felt a bit miffed about LB's characterization of the school. Though way before her time, I can relate, when going to a certain great flagship state college felt like a fate tantamount to death or a jail sentence to me. My father worked for the program, and the very idea of having to go to that school rankled me terribly. It didn't take me many years to appreciate and respect the school as it should have been viewed from the get go by me. I wish my kids had free tuition option there as I had. My father certainly had every reason to be proud of the fact that he had his kids college tuitions in the bag through his job. Us kids did not know any better and doubt kids these days all would fall right into line when a choice is on the plate for years.
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