1st Edition

Lady Bird Self-Determination for a New Century

By Rob Stone Copyright 2023
    134 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    134 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Examining the ideas, philosophies and strategies that inform and enable a young woman’s self-determination for a new century, this is a detailed, insightful study of Greta Gerwig’s much-loved, influential and critically acclaimed film.

    Drawing on Transcendentalism, French feminist thought, Californian art and the work of iconic American essayist Joan Didion, Rob Stone approaches Lady Bird as a film about young women’s self-determination in relation to other women and waves of feminist history. Structured to emulate the evolving conscience and emerging consciousness of the film’s eponymous protagonist, this new volume in the Cinema and Youth Cultures series provides an incisive portrait of a particular American youth subculture struggling to assert its identity between the shock of 9/11 in 2001 and the global financial crisis of 2008. It also sensitively examines tensions between Gerwig and Lady Bird, and between Lady Bird being set in 2002 and made in 2017. Written by an expert on American independent cinema and the dynamics of World Cinema, this volume explores strategies of self-determination that ignite in the friction between mothers and daughters and culminate in considerations of how the film’s form and aesthetics lead to reflections on its philosophy and politics.

    Situating Lady Bird in the genre of youth movies and feminist film practice and culture, this book is ideal for students and researchers looking at wider dialogues and discourses about feminism, philosophy, gender, genre and American independent filmmaking.


    1 Mothers and Daughters: Genealogy and Simultaneity

    2 Class and Classes: Education and Consciousness

    3 Love and Attention: Aesthetics and Feelings

    4 Acts and Gestures: Verticality and Transcendence


    Rob Stone is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Birmingham. His research is on World cinema, American independent cinema and Hispanic cinemas. He is the author of Walk, Don’t Run: The Cinema of Richard Linklater.