I guess we’ve reached the point where 9/11 sight gags are funny. At one point in Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, there’s a montage of fun stuff that happens during the titular character’s senior year at a Catholic High School in Sacramento. During the montage there’s a quick insert of a character giving a speech and behind her hangs an accurately cutesy pushpin bulletin board that features the old slogan, “9/11: Never Forget” in sparkly bubble letters. I laughed at it, then I thought about why that shot got that reaction from me. Part of it is the specificity and authenticity to 2002, one of this film’s strongest selling points, and part of it is the juxtaposition between that serious message and the silly events that surround it. But the element of that quick shot that stood out most to me was the difference in how I felt about that saying in 2002 and how I feel about it 15 years later. Lady Bird is about 4 years older than I was in 2002 but even in late middle school I felt a deep and serious calling to never forget the events of that day. I guess I haven’t forgotten 9/11 half my life later but it feels much less central to my definition of myself than it did at the time. There are all kinds of reasons for this change, from the mere passage of time to the reckoning one must do with the way we responded to the attack (the film also pays attention to this, at least in the background), and I think it is probably a good thing to not have terrorism on my mind 24/7 anymore. Lady Bird isn’t about 9/11, but Gerwig’s film does address all of these other ideas. Its conflict is a fraught mother/daughter relationship among various other high-school-finding-yourself drama and it is so invested in the details of the fights, the way they’ve grown imperceptibly until they explode into month-long silences, that it is very easy to get wrapped up in them. But I grew out of that kind of stuff long ago and Lady Bird is likely to as well. So why look at them? Because those feelings and fights mattered, and the way we think about them now is related to how we thought about them then. Like 9/11, see?