As a result of her lauded directorial debut Lady Bird, Gerwig is being feted as one of the most exciting writer-directors to have emerged in recent years. But at the moment, you might be a little bit "Greta who?"
Worry not, as we’re here to help. Meet the actress/filmmaker currently taking the world by storm...
She’s a triple threat
Greta Gerwig can do it all. It was in 2010 when starring alongside Ben Stiller in Greenberg that she first came to the attention of critics, with one describing her as "redefining just what it is we talk about when we talk about acting".
Prior to this, she had starred in films that became known as part of the 'mumblecore' movement (films which focus on naturalistic acting and dialogue, and a low-budget production style). Over the years, Gerwig surely worked her way through the ranks. Starring in Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha, 2016’s 20th Century Women alongside veteran Annette Bening, and with a supporting role in 2017’s Jackie with Natalie Portman, she has inched ever-closer to the spotlight.
Having written a number of the films in which she's starred, Greta has honed her script-writing talents as well. All of this has finally led to her directing and writing the critically acclaimed Lady Bird, the compassionate and funny story of the eponymous teen (played by Saoirse Ronan) who wants to turn her back on California and up sticks to an east coast university. Whilst hormones are raging, Lady Bird also clashes repeatedly with her tough-talking yet deeply loving mother (Laurie Metcalf).
Although she also co-directed Night and Weekends in 2008 (she wrote and starred in this as well), Lady Bird marks Gerwig's directorial debut. Next stop for this indie darling? World domination.
She’s a record breaker
It hasn’t even been released in the UK yet, but Lady Bird is already breaking records.
It held a 100% rating on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes with a staggering 196 positive critic reviews. This broke the record previously held by Toy Story 2. It’s currently on 99% with 214 out of the 215 reviews collected being positive. We think that’s still pretty great going, all things considered.
Whilst Gerwig has been controversially overlooked in the director categories at both the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, the film has racked up an impressive amount of awards credentials. These include Globes wins for Best Picture (Comedy or Musical) and Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), plus BAFTA nods for Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf).
The Globes do things a little bit differently by splitting musical/comedy and drama films. However, Lady Bird’s Best Film success is nothing to be sniffed at, and may indicate a repeat performance at the Oscars. Whilst it faces hefty competition in the form of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Shape of Water (which also nabbed Best Director for Guillermo del Toro), we’re #TeamGreta going forward.
She’s flying the flag for women in film
A number of Gerwig’s films focus on complex female characters who refuse to conform to stereotypes, and Lady Bird is no different. Drawing on a large amount of personal experience, she ensures this coming-of-age story is relatable for all, and the fiery performance from Saoirse Ronan reinforces this.
Gerwig has past form in this area. In 20th Century Women she plays Abbie, a punk-obsessed, red-haired feminist in a film celebrating strong, powerful female role-models and this isn’t a far-cry away from her real-life persona.
In a 2015 interview, Gerwig spoke earnestly of her passion for hearing more creative female voices, stating: "I still get infuriated when I look at lists, not just of filmmakers, but of musicians, novelists, painters, and it’s just, 'Guy, guy, guy, guy.' I love so many of them, but I want more. I want more of my gender expressing what it means to them to be alive".
With other notable female filmmakers having made waves in the last few years, including Jodie Foster (Black Mirror and Money Monster), Kathryn Bigelow (Detroit), Andrea Arnold (American Honey), and Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman), we may just be experiencing the first signs of a sea-change in Hollywood.
Given her success with Lady Bird, Gerwig is clearly at the vanguard of such a movement.
Sarah Buddery is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.