20th Century Women USA
Director: Mike Mills
Cast: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig
Runtime: 118 minutes
Showtime: April 23rd 7:15 PM
National Society of Film Critics, Best Actress 2nd Place, Annette Bening; National Board
of Review: Top 10 Independent Films; Academy Award Nomination: Best Original Screenplay. Seven other wins, 64 nominations
“Ultimately, the value of 20th Century Women is that it provides Annette Bening with a prime showcase. It’s worth seeing just to watch her grapple with this challenging character.”—Leonard Maltin, leonardmaltin.com
Set in 1979 in Santa Barbara, 20th Century Women is a coming-of-age tale about Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), teen son of Dorothea (Annette Bening) a divorced single mother.
Like Beginners (with Christopher Plummer), director Mills draws on his childhood to create 20th Century Women.
Dorothea owns a huge old boarding house. Her lodgers include a hippie-ish handyman (Billy Crudup) who is helping her renovate and a feminist artist named Abbie (Greta Gerwig). Also present is Julie (Elle Fanning), a close friend of Jamie’s. She sneaks into his bedroom via scaffolding every night, but just to hang out, cuddle and talk, to Jamie’s everlasting chagrin.
A product of the Depression (seen in flashbacks), Dorothea feels a bit out of touch so she decides to enlist the help of Abbie and Julie in raising Jamie. She wants him to be a good man, well-rounded, thoughtful, and thinks these women can help. And they do, even though conflicted Dorothea sometimes comically resents their efforts.
20th Century Women is a loving study of a time and place, and Mills captures the late ‘70s perfectly. He has a good eye for period details including fashion, music and attitude. .
The movie’s big draw is Bening. Her character stays just out of reach in terms of Jamie’s emotional understanding, in the way a parent does, and her performance alone is worth the price of admission.
Thank you to our sponsor the Thunder Bay Art Gallery