Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird, won over Toronto International Film Festival audiences on Friday night — and, at least momentarily, made it cool to like Dave Matthews Band again.
Gerwig’s film, which earned similar raves after its premiere at the Telluride Film Festival last week, focuses on the title character, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), as she spends one final year in her parents’ Sacramento home before heading off to college. Gerwig, who also wrote the semi-autobiographical script and based characters on people she knew growing up in Sacramento, set the film in 2002 — a period not yet mined for onscreen nostalgia. That means things are just a bit … slower: many of the high school students have mobile devices, but it’s not a societal requirement; Lady Bird’s family has a computer, but it’s a desktop; and while Justin Timberlake’s 2002 blockbuster single “Cry Me a River” highlights one particular party, Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me” still reigns (at least for some). The ballad, which peaked at 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1997, is used throughout Lady Bird — at first eliciting kitschy laughs before later marking a turning point in the story.
“I made my dad take me to a [Dave Matthews Band] concert. He was the only dad there. A very good dad,” Gerwig said after the Toronto screening when asked by an audience member why she made the song such an important part of her debut film.
In Lady Bird, McPherson remains a Dave Matthews Band fan despite its already uncool label. But Gerwig wasn’t as loyal as she hit college. Back in 2012, while promoting Whit Stillman’s college-set Damsels in Distress, the star joked how she was able to change her high school persona within new friend groups.
“In college, you’re able to transform yourself in a way that you were never able to before … because in high school you go to high school with people that have known you since you were 6, so how mysterious can you be?” she told the Chicago Tribune. “But in college, I think people really did reinvent themselves and totally they went by different names and started dressing differently and disavowed Dave Matthews Band. I did.”
But speaking on Friday, Gerwig affirmed her fandom with pride.
“I love Dave Matthews,” she added, “and I feel like it’s an incredibly romantic song and I always wanted to make out to that song and I never did.”
Lady Bird is out Nov. 10 via A24. Watch the trailer above.