Saoirse Ronan’s Awakening

She soars as a sexual newbie in Lady Bird

BY: Claire Connors

Saoirse Ronan has been on our radar ever since her Academy-Award nominated performance in 2007’s British drama, Atonement. Born in The Bronx, New York and raised in Ireland, Saoirse, “pronounced Sur-sha like inertia,” explains the quick-witted actor in her thick Irish brogue, caught the acting bug early, landing her first role on an Irish TV medical drama when she was just nine. She’s been mesmerizing us ever since in films like The Lovely Bones (2009) about a murdered girl watching over her family from “the in-between,” Hanna (2011) where she plays a teenaged assassin, and Brooklyn (2015), for which she was nominated again for an Oscar for her role as an Irish immigrant who finds love in 1950s Brooklyn.

With her pale skin, bright blue eyes, and fair hair, Saoirse may look like just another pretty face (and at 23, she can still play a teenager!), but her sharp tongue and fierce sense of humor reveal an intelligence and strength that shines through in all of the characters she plays.

The part that’s currently got the critics in a tizzy is the titular lead in Lady Bird, the semi-autobiographical coming-of-age film written and directed by actor Greta Gerwig. Like last year’s Best Picture winner, Moonlight—another A24 film that debuted at the Telluride Film Festival—the Oscar buzz surrounding the film, which also stars Tony Award-winner Laurie Metcalf, is getting louder with every showing. Already considered at the head of the Best Actress race is Saoirse, whose performance as Lady Bird, a dreamy but whip-smart adolescent with burgeoning sexual desires and the inevitable need to escape her hometown, is being called nothing short of “sensational,” and her “best performance since Atonement.”

With three more films coming out, including the gorgeous, animated biography of artist Vincent Van Gogh, Loving Vincent, due out this month, and the upcoming bio-drama Mary Queen of Scots, which finds Saoirse in the title role up against Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I, it’s clear that while her name may rhyme with inertia, this actor is anything but inert. We expect even bigger, better, and brighter things from Saoirse Ronan.