In the past decade, Greta Gerwig has transformed from an on-screen indie darling into one of cinema’s most promising filmmakers. While it’s clear she shares certain stylings and tastes with Noah Baumbach — her real-life partner and creative collaborator on Frances Ha and Mistress America — the 2017 film Lady Bird established Gerwig, who wrote and directed, as one of the industry’s strongest narrative voices. Loosely based on Gerwig’s Sacramento upbringing, Lady Bird features Saoirse Ronan as the protagonist, who must leave “the midwest of California” to live up to her self-ascribed persona. Through Gerwig’s screenplay, however, one begins to discover that unresolved family dysfunction represents the primary conflict. From act to act, Gerwig pays homage to her cinematic influences, all the while showcasing her lively writing voice and ability to craft an impactful scene. Lady Bird feels organic, but it’s Gerwig’s meticulous structure and detail that ensures people of all ages, demographics, and genders can somehow relate.

If you’re eager to keep “reading between the lines,” sate yourself with our videos extolling the iconoclastic screenwriting of Richard Linklater and Charlie Kaufman. While you’re at it, don’t miss our recent profiles (in greatness) of actors Ryan Gosling and Tilda Swinton, directors Wong Kar-wai and Hou Hsiao-hsien, cinematographer Robbie Ryan, and score auteur Ennio Morricone.