LADYBIRD, LADYBIRD is a shocking true story from England. This is
one of those movies that if it were not true, you would see it and
complain about how the screenwriter, director, and lead actress had all
stretched believability beyond all reasonable bounds. Yet, this is
supposedly a very accurate portrayal of the events, and I believe it.
LADYBIRD, LADYBIRD tells the story of Maggie Conlon (played by
first time actress Crissy Rock--more on her amazing acting later).
Maggie's life is full of problems. Early on we see a scene where she
witnesses her Dad beating her Mom senseless in front of Maggie when she
is about 5. She cries incessantly while watching her Mom being
brutalized. Her Dad is full of anger and rage.
When we first meet Crissy she already has four children. The
family looks like the United Nations as she points out that she has had
children with four different men she has lived with, and they have
left, in some cases to go back to their native lands. She was never
married to any of them. They all share one common thread, however,
they beat her constantly with the same rage her Dad beat her Mom. She
says she still loves them and keeps trying to go back to them.
In the first scene of the show she is in a bar and meets a new
boyfriend (Vladimir Vega) from Venezuela. Naturally, she sleeps with
him shortly thereafter. He appears to be a real gentlemen. She tells
him that her four kids have been taken by Social Services, and she is
suing to get them back.
Most of the movie has to do with Maggie and her battle with the
local government. She is the worst defendant imaginable. She screams
the F-word constantly in court to the judge, to the Social Services
people, and even to her own attorney (barrister I guess I should say).
You are going to be very surprised about the sequence of events in
the show. I did not guess many of the twists and turns. Suffice it to
say you may think that the writer's name was Franz Kafka where as the
writer and director was Ken Loach.
Crissy Rock worked in a bar until she was discovered by the
director. Her performance is so outstanding that both Siskel and Ebert
wanted her to get an Academy Award nomination for it, and I agree. She
plays Maggie as the unlikable and tormented character that she is.
Rock is shaped like the Rock of Gibraltar and is about as good
looking. This seemed like perfect casting to me. Maggie is so angry
to everyone you find yourself amazed that she has any friends left at
all, much less a long succession of lovers. She is literally a walking
time bomb in the show, but one with a meantime to explosion of 30
seconds. I do not know if the show is ultimately about abuse, anger,
or morality--perhaps all three equally.
Copyright © 1995 Steve Rhodes