Greta Gerwig had a good night at the Golden Globes in January. Her film, Lady Bird, a coming-of-age story set in Sacramento, California, took home the prize for best musical or comedy, and in her acceptance speech, she was incredibly gracious to her home town and thanked the city for the role it played in her first solo film.
She even called Lady Bird a “love letter” to the city, as reported in the Sacramento Bee.
Lady Bird is nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress for Saoirse Ronan, and Best Supporting Actress for Laurie Metcalf, so Sacramentans may experience another shout out if the film wins, but even if it doesn’t, it is lovely have the city featured so prominently in a popular film.
While many notable people, including Jessica Chastain, LeVar Burton, Timothy Busfield, Sam Elliott, Colin Hanks, Brie Larson, Eddie Murphy, Molly Ringwald, Lester Holt, Lisa Ling, Joan Lunden, and more, join Gerwig in having ties to Sacramento, the city itself doesn’t get a lot of coverage in the entertainment realm.
Sacramento is the 35th largest city by population in the United States, but other than frequent comments about the loyal fans of the Sacramento Kings, this city doesn’t often feature into too many film or TV references, other than a slight mentions, an occasional insult, or an acknowledgment that it actually exists.
Of course there are a few notable film and TV projects that did a little better than a mere mention. The CBS show The Mentalist, which ran from 2008-2015, was set in Sacramento and occasionally came to the city to film.
A few other films with ties to Sacramento include: Phenomenon, Pink Cadillac, Life, Frankie and Johnny, and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.
Lady Bird is not the only film set in Sacramento that came out last year. Brad’s Status hit theaters in 2017, starring Ben Stiller and Jenna Fischer, was also filmed locally and received good reviews. Clint Eastwood’s drama, The 15:17 to Paris, is based on the true story of three men from Sacramento who helped stop an attempted terrorist attack in Paris in 2015, so that is another high profile mention for this often unsung city.
Gerwig, a Sacramento native, who attended St. Francis High School before moving to New York and earning her degree from Barnard College, said to Entertainment Weekly that she wanted to write about what home means, and how being away for a few years gave her the new perspective to create this story.
Throughout the film there are some great mentions and visuals that only someone from Sacramento would know. The fabulous 40s are the old school beautiful homes in the city that are well known for their stunning Christmas displays, while newer money seems to migrate to Granite Bay. The iconic Crest Theater, Gunther’s Ice Cream, and Tower Bridge are also featured. It is just a pleasant surprise to see Sacramento featured in such a positive way in Lady Bird.
Gerwig herself is nominated for Oscars for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, so fans only have to wait one more week to hear what she has to say about her home town while on the red carpet and hopefully when claiming an award.