Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Maria Cizmic, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Amy Rust, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Berish, Ph.D.


Control, Environment, Escape, Film, Greta Gerwig, Mother-Daughter


This thesis focuses on the film Lady Bird and the historical coincidence of its release one month after the online movement #MeToo began. By giving frame and sound equal importance in my analysis of the film, rather than opposing these elements, I emphasize audiovisual composition and reveal the mutual dependence within what are considered traditional divisions of theory in cinema. These oppositions relate to control and escape, as they are portrayed through the mother and daughter characters, Marion and Lady Bird, as well as through image and sonic elements. My work demonstrates how the audiovisual composition of the film mediates an environment which places economic and gendered limits upon the mother and daughter specifically but can be applied to women in American society as well.

Through the incorporation of #MeToo, I highlight the gendered limitations and possibilities both women face within the film and how that relates to the current social movement which seeks to stop gendered violence and disenfranchisement. Ultimately, this thesis seeks to recognize the shared demands and desires of women who are faced with similar limitations in their environments, and through this are able to restructure environments and create new social arrangements to better serve those disadvantaged due to gender identity and economic class.