Greta Gerwig makes her solo directorial debut with a semi-autobiographical look at her life growing up in Sacramento, California and she immediately establishes herself as a directing force to be reckoned with. Saoirise Ronan, who should’ve won an Oscar for Brooklyn, will likely get another chance for her turn as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, a Sacramento youth with an artistic yearning for the East Coast and some distance between her and her domineering mom (Laurie Metcalf). This is a coming-of-age story like no other thanks to the insightful writing and brisk directorial style of Gerwig, who makes Lady Bird’s story a consistently surprising one. Ronan’s Lady Bird is a rebel with a good heart, a theater geek who stinks at math, and an emotional rollercoaster. She also gets a lot of laughs, especially in her showdowns with Metcalf, who has never been better. Lucas Hedges, on a roll after Manchester By the Sea and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, is funny and sad as one of Lady Bird’s young love interests, while Odeya Rush is golden as Lady Bird’s best friend, Jenna. Tracy Letts is perfect as the nice dad dealing with warring factions in the household, while Timothy Chalamet (currently racking up awards for Call Me By Your Name) gets perhaps the biggest laughs as aloof other love interest, Kyle. This one is a triumph for Ronan and Gerwig, and, while it would never happen, I’d love to see a sequel about Lady Bird’s college years.