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Plot: The story of three women who explore love and freedom in Southern California during the late 1970s. Runtime: 119 mins Release Date: 20 Jan 2017
Mike Mills hits a home-run with '20th Century Women'. Mills, with the help of an Astonishing Annette Bening, creates a film based in-part on Mills' childhood so emotionally powerful, its impossible not be moved by it. '20th Century Women' Synopsis: Dorothea Annette Benning seeks the help of Abbie Greta Gerwig and Julie Elle Fanning to raise her son, Jamie Lucas Jade Zumann . '20th Century Women' is about relationships, primarily of a mother and son. Mills delivers a personal story with genuine feeling. I loved the other dynamics as well. The characters of <more>
Abbie & Julie are strong as well. You watch 3 women in different age groups, help a boy know a little more about life. They speak differently, their relations to the boy are vastly diverse, but they're women, who define feminism & the practicalities of life. Mills keeps the narrative heartfelt & by the time this story ends, you're with the characters & you feel for them. Mills' Screenplay, which has earned him a Very-Worthy Oscar- Nomnation, is superior. The Writing is super-strong at all times. I don't recall a single moment when the film lost me, I was with the film throughout. Mills' Direction is simple, but well-done. Cinematography & Editing are super. Roger Neill's Score is perfect.'20th Century Women' is embellished with maddening performances. Annette Benning steals the show & how! Her portrayal of a mother trying to her raise her son without a father, is beyond marvelous. Its hard to keep eyes off the screen when Benning is up. Benning has delivered several memorable performances in her fabulous career, but in '20th Century Women', she surpasses herself. And to the Academy, what in the world made you not nominate her? If this isn't acting of the highest order, then what is? Following Benning, are Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann and Billy Crudup. Fanning is a treasure. She delivers a restrained, believable performance from start to end. Grewig, a criminally underrated performer, is only getting better with every film. She's fabulous here & the attitude she carries to portray a women fighting a serious illness, is nerve-wracking. Zumann is natural to the core & his scenes with Benning, are the emotional core of the film. Crudup, sandwiched between 3 beautiful women & a rebelling teenager, is a delight. He gets a smaller roll compared to the others, but he leaves a solid impression. On the whole, '20th Century Women' is A Wonder Of A Film. Two Big Thumbs Up!
Okay, I'm happy to admit it; I'm in love with Annette Bening, sorry, Warren . Actually I think I've always been a little in love with Annette all the way back to "Postcards from the Edge" and "The Grifters" though over time Annette met Warren and kind of gave up movies and we sort of drifted apart over the years. Then a few years ago she made a comeback of sorts in "The Kids are All Right" and I started to get stirrings all over again but then I didn't want to break up what she had with Julianne Moore. But now she's back and it would seem <more>
she's up for grabs and I'm head over heels all over again.The movie, of course, is "20th Century Women" and the Academy are absolutely bonkers; they've completely ignored last year's best performance by an actress. In fact, they've ignored the most likable movie of 2016 altogether; it's sole nomination is for director Mike Mills' terrific screenplay . This is a feelgood movie the way feelgood movies should be; not soppy and sentimental but smart and funny and sexy and intelligent, chock full of people you would actually like to spend time with. Come to think of it, I'm actually a little in love with Greta Gerwig, and she can be hard work at times , Elle Fanning, Billy Crudup, has he ever been smoother or sexier or more grounded , and a kid named Lucas Jade Zumann that I wanted to adopt.Mike Mills wrote this as an original screenplay but it plays out like a good book. It's literate but it's not stuffy. People in this movie talk intelligently the way intelligent people talk in reality and not in the movies. It feels natural as if they've opened the door and let you into their lives. Yes, I totally love "20th Century Women" and if Annette ever gets tired of Warren, I'll be waiting.
Several all-time classic scenes in it! (by Hellmant)
'20TH CENTURY WOMEN': Five Stars Out of Five The new critically acclaimed comedy-drama, from writer/director Mike Mills who also performed both duties on 2005's 'THUMBSUCKER' and 2010's 'BEGINNERS' . It tells the story of a single mother, in 1970s California, who asks her two friends to help her raise her son. The movie stars Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning, Lucas Jade Zumann and Billy Crudup. It's received mostly rave reviews from critics, and it's also been nominated for several prominent awards. I absolutely loved it. Dorothea Bening <more>
is a single mother, who lives in a house in 1979 Santa Barbara with her son, Jamie Zumann , and two friends, Abbie Gerwig and William Crudup . She's worried about Jamie's well being, and she thinks he doesn't have enough positive role models in his life. So she asks Abbie, and another friend of Jamie's, named Julie Fanning , to help watch out for him. Jamie and the three women all struggle through life's problems together, while also teaching each other about life. The film is hilarious at times, and there's several all-time classic scenes in it. The performances are all great especially Bening and Gerwig and the characters are all likable I especially like Abbie . The movie is also extremely touching, and involving. I cared a lot for all of it's main characters; I really wanted them all to succeed, and be happy, and I could really relate to a lot of their issues especially Jamie . A lot of my relationships with women, throughout my life, have been very similar to the relationships Jamie has with women in this movie . So it's a film that really speaks to me. I've heard it's somewhat autobiographical too, and largely based on the director's childhood. I think this shows, by the amount of passion he put into the film, and I also think because of this that it's a must see!Watch our movie review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v 1M9osPwjfbM
Terrific ensemble cast, with career performance by Annette Bening (by paul-allaer)
"20th Century Women" 2016 release; 118 min. brings the story of Dorothea, a divorced woman in her mid-50s, and her 15 yr. old son Jamie. As the movie opens, we are reminded it is "Santa Barbara, 1979", and Dorothea's car is engulfed in flames while she and Jamie were grocery shopping. When they finally get home, we also get to know Abbie, a 24 yr. old orange-haired photographer, and William, a Mr. fix-it-all, who both are renting rooms at Dorothea's house. Then there is Julie, the 17 yr. old who hangs out at the house for no apparent reason. When Dorothea feels <more>
she cannot handle the unruly ? Jamie by herself, she enlists the help of Abbie and Julie. At this point we're 15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.Couple of comments: this is the long-awaited new movie from writer-director Mike Mills, who last surprised us with the outstanding "Beginners" now already 6+ years ago . Here he brings a character study of a group of 5 people in the late 70s. This movie immediately connected with me, as I saw pieces of myself in "young" people: Abbie Born 1955 , Julie born 1962 and Jamie born 1964 . I was born in 1960. The movie features an all-star ensemble cast, with an almost unrecognizable Great Gerwig as Abbie and on the heels of another outstanding role in the recent "Jackie" , Elle Fanning in perhaps her best role to date as Julie, Billy Crudup as William, and newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann as Jamie. Surely we have not seen the last of him. But the biggest applause must go to Annette Bening, who brings perhaps the finest performance of her career as the well-intended but at times confused, sad and/or lonely Dorothea. Mills brings us these characters in rich detail and nuance, much to the viewing public's delight. Ever wonder what a "cool cigarette walk" is like? You'll find out in the movie. Music plays a ventral role in the movie. There is a fine original score mostly electronic by Roger Neill, but even better are the song placements Talking Head, Black Flag, David Bowie, the Clash, and many others ."20th Century Women" premiered to great acclaim at the New York Film Festival last Fall. The movie opened wide this weekend and I couldn't wait to see it. The Friday evening screening where I saw this at was attended nicely although by no means close to a sell-out. Doesn't matter. This is one of the finer movies of the year, for me anyway. If you like a richly-developed character study with an all-star ensemble cast, you cannot go wrong with this, be it in the theater, on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. "20th Century Women" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
What I loved about 20th century women was how evocatively it built the atmosphere of the time it was representing. The film was a sensory mood board of features from the years it captured and I really felt I was experiencing a passionately curated dip into the past. The films keeps up the momentum of engaging narrative, music and visuals and even the small intimate moments captivate the attention. I always love an unconventional pairing within a story and there was a sensitive exploration of relationships within this film which where fascinating because of the clever combination of <more>
differences. I Loved the matriarchal mother Dorothea she was a brilliantly tough sharp minded woman but her character highlighted the repressively resolute attitudes from the older generation within the set time of the film. In one scene, even an older woman as forward thinking as Dorothea didn't want to address the stigma of menstruation or the freedom women should have to talk about sex when two young female characters try to open up, and it really reflected the teething period of quickly changing ideologies. The film was a refreshing break from all the motivational career pursuit films, as the lives of the characters seem happily enriched through the exploring of literature and art in their own homes. The end sequence was unexpectedly emotional and gave a lot of wisdom to mull over!
What a shame that it seems like this film has gotten lost in the shuffle. It's so well written. It's also pretty clever in its structure. Rather than a more conventional storytelling approach, the film is first presented as a series of scenes that are introduced in voice-over by the various characters. I think the film does a great job of presenting so many of its ideas and issues this way and it allows for a really organic way for the character to develop. I was a bit surprised by its actual plot as well. The film uses the simple background plot of a woman's relationship with her <more>
son to also be about the various issues facing these very different women in this very pivotal, specific moment in their lives. The acting by the whole cast is pretty fantastic. Both Gerwig and Bening should be in contention for awards, and Fanning and Crudup should also be in the conversation. Really fantastic film.
20th Century Women isn't about giving us some epic look at a group of friends or a family, but it is about the passage of time with people who are warm and caring and in a genuine way. Mike Mills isn't a saccharine filmmaker, but he also doesn't shy away from sentiment - I always have to point out this is separate from sentimentality - and the feeling that I came away with from the comedy 20th Century Women is this warmth from all of the characters, and this feeling that I know these people, whether I did or didn't and I actually did in the sense that, at times, the mother <more>
and son were me and my mom for a short period of my teenage years, so there's an authenticity just there to me .There's so much empathy for everyone here that it adds to the authenticity of the emotions, even for Greta Gerwig's Abbie who is, in essence, another 'Greta Gerwig' character like I've seen, or think I've seen, in other movies her quirky wisdom seems akin to last year's Mistress America at least . While she is my least favorite person in this movie, she's given a history and many moments, surrounding one of those terrible things that happens to people and there's not much to be done about it, or could've, it's out of the hands of anything *to* be done. There's so much work done on the characters here by Mills, getting us to like them despite all of their flaws or those moments where they don't act with logic or sense, that it doesn't matter that there isn't too much of a story. This is the story of these characters in a short span of time while also, as if looking on from some other, ethereal plane, about what this time meant in the context of what came before 1979, and what was to come.Among the actors here, Lucas Jade Zumann is the breakout star as the 15 year old Jamie, but I was so taken with Benning and Fanning as the 50-ish, "she was in the depression" as she's described mother and the 2 years older than Jamie but that matters so much pleutonic friend respectively. I wonder if the film would've worked with any other actors in the roles, but really I can't imagine anyone else. Every time Bening's on screen she gives Dorothea this feeling of 'well... I guess this is happening now, what do I do about it, I'm not sure', and while she can get angry or concerned she's never one to go too over the top - this is the anti-Fences in that regard of being about a kid scarred by a parent - she does care about what happens to her son, with the "inciting incident" in screen writing terms being him almost dying from doing one of those dumb-s*** things teenagers do on a dare. It's a unique and subtle performance, filled with a sense of... questioning, uncertainty, which is harder to pull off than it looks.Fanning, meanwhile, is also having to underplay, which is good to see. This is an impressive year for her between this, Live by Night which she was the best part of and the Neon Demon, and she's different in all of them. I want to say I like the work she does here the most even as or because it's the least likable one among the bunch and keep in mind she's a born-again Christian in the South in LbN . Mills's writing provides Fanning a great deal to make Julie come alive, but I found her not saying things, the way she shows Jamie how to hold a cigarette, when she is saying little, and then when she is backed into doing something that she should want to do but doesn't go for - going past being 'just friends' with Jamie in the last third - how she responds is devastating. It's like, 'no, don't act this way', as opposed to simply looking at her as a "B"-word, which is how a hackier writer could've gone with it.Oh, and I must reiterate this is a comedy, and it's funny as hell. There's certainly some dramatic stretches, but Mills mines a lot of humor out of generational splits - Bening's face as she hears early Black Flag, and then trying to "move" to it with Billy Crudup, is one of the funniest things this year - and it's a tricky balance that Mills finds between making the feminism yes, actual literature and quotes spoken in voice-over from essays serious AND humorous. We don't doubt that the feminism of the characters is pure, but there's also that question that's posed: how much is really appropriate, or can be legitimately understood, by 15 year old who barely knows who he is in this world? And on top of this Mills is having fun and some daring as a filmmaker, using psychedelic colors to show cars driving at times, and going not for the slow-motion but fast-motion speed, but not for comedy - the aesthetic point matches up with what the movie's about: life moves too fast, and we have to try and keep up with it best as we can and grow with things and become better people as everything moves too quickly. If it's ultimately too episodic to be anything really great or up to be there with the very best this year, I'd still tell anyone who likes smart character independent ish movies centered on teenagers and adults to see it immediately; it has a good place alongside The Squid and the Whale and, to a less taboo extent, Diary of a Teenage Girl.
Wonderful film that should win Bening an Oscar (by alfiefamily)
"20th Century Women" is the story of three women of different generations who help to see a teenage boy learn what it is to become a man.The three women, Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, and Elle Fanning become the primary influences in the life of Bening's son Lucas Jade Zumann . Being is nothing short of fantastic as the mother, Dorothea, a product of the '40s and '50's, who is leading a bohemian-type lifestyle, and who rents rooms to Abbie a photographer played by Gerwig, and a mechanic Billy Crudup . I would look for Gerwig and Crudup to contend for Best <more>
Supporting Oscars. Zumann is refreshing as Bening's son, Jamie.Mike Mills "Beginners" has created a setting in 1979 that is easily identifiable and relatable. There are no plot twists or surprises, just interesting characters that actually talk and listen to each other.
A Multi-Generational Cultural Exchange (by bkrauser-81-311064)
The scene feels remarkably familiar – Dorothea Bening , the matron and saint of a Santa Barbara household circa 1979 leans in on her son Jamie Zumann listening to "Fairytale in the Supermarket" by The Raincoats. "They know they sound terrible right?" she says. Abbie Gerwig , Dorothea's avant-garde lodger interjects; "yeah, but it's like they don't care. They got all this feeling but don't have the tools they need to express it it all comes out as passion." Dorothea fixates on Abbie's intonation, like listening to language she's only <more>
now grasping. She gets it...but then she doesn't.Much like Abbie's defense of The Raincoats, Dorothea believes she has all the passion to be a proper mother, but she lacks the right tools to support a son who is growing older with each passing moment. She decides to enlist the help of two young women; Julie, Jamie's best friend and crush and Abbie a free spirit who was recently treated for cervical cancer. The only other man in the picture is William Crudup a well-meaning former hippie with a gift for mechanics and a passion for pottery. Between them all, the stalwart Dorothea hopes to quietly guide her son through his formative years which pit her depression era approach, to Jamie's recession era resentments. "Don't you need a man to raise another man?" asks Julie. "No I don't think you do." 20th Century Women starts with competing voice-overs and uses a collage approach to convey the surfaces of each character's inner life. The collages are stuffed to the brim with stills of 1930's gloom and 1960's turbulence all set to audio of proto-punk, Jimmy Carter's Malaise Speech and "As Life Goes By" from Casablanca 1942 . It's an awkward mix; one that creates an echo chamber of sorts.That subtle discordance of people talking at and not to each other, runs through the first half of the film. Jamie's coming-of-age story, a volatile mix of stubborn familial resentment and unrequited love clobbers together with Dorothea's own midlife crisis. "I had Jamie when I was 40." Dorothea says; a fact that can help explain Dorothea's free-range parenting approach, but also helps explain why Jamie's sharp insights cut so deep. For a while there it always seems like its Jamie versus Dorothea, pulled apart by an ever widening generational gap.Then, like responding to the blessing of a wartime parlay, the factions in this film begin to center and calm. It is during this truce that the film begins to really take off, presenting its characters with vibrancy and humanity while flying through a more nuanced story arc. Almost independently both Jamie and Dorothea learn their goals are one in the same and the differences they have are little compared to their mutual respect for time which presents itself in rainbow tinged tracking shots and subtle fast-forwards.And at the center of 20th Century Women lies the affable Annette Bening who suitably captures the zeitgeist of a generation no longer with us. While most might pigeonhole Dorothea as a madcap eccentric or worse a passive pushover, Bening wisely lets the character's inner strength shine through. Dorothea is unabashedly a one of a kind lady. She invites strangers to dinner, invites herself to punk clubs, leaves early, and then comes back days later alone. She verves uncomfortably with post-sexual revolution mores yet she quietly takes frank conversations about menstruation in stride. She does all this because she knows that with every encounter, every meeting, every stranger there's a chance for exchange.Of course 20th Century Women is not without its problems. While Bening, Gerwig and Fanning all do wonders in their roles, Zumann fails to endear the young Jamie to the audience in any meaningful way. Part of it is due to the part as it is written. The film is loosely based on the life of director Mike Mills thus Jamie at times feels more like an avatar than a real teenager. Additionally it's ironic that despite constant paraphrasing of feminist literature, 20th Century Women would struggle to pass the Bechdel Test. Our three women characters orbit Jamie's life and analyze his actions and motives like he's the center of their universe.Yet, while the film uses the wider Women's Liberation movement as window dressing, allowing the external conflicts of the film to melt away to reveal honest internal pain was a stroke of genius. Genius enough to maybe be interpreted as a meta-text on standard storytelling practices being a form of patriarchal oppression. That however is a discussion for another day. 20th Century Women is an artfully rendered film with plenty to say about the passage of time, the commonality between the generation gaps and the unifying love of mother and son.