Sunday, January 22, 2017

Movie Review: 20th Century Women

Mike Mills's look at a moment in time and the glimpse of a generation of people is beautiful, charming, and funny. Dorothea (Annette Bening) raises her son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) in their house amidst the punk revolution and a remodeling. Dorothea brings on a border Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and has a handyman William (Billy Crudup) work around the house as influences for young Jamie. The neighbor Julie (Elle Fanning) also visits frequently and sleeps next to Jamie though she prefers to be just friends despite his blooming sexuality.

When Jamie faints during a dangerous breathing game and does not wake up for half an hour, Dorothea worries about his upbringing. She asks the two other women in his life to help raise him so that he will be a man that can find happiness. The movie doesn't follow any distinct plot allowing the film to capture the events of each characters life but also hindering it from building up towards any emotional climax.

Abbie suffered from cervical cancer as young woman due to a fertility pill her mother took during pregnancy. She aspires to be a photographer and starts up a sexual relationship with William. She give Jamie books on feminism that lead him into trouble and exposes him to the punk rock scene where he finds the music appealing. She is coping with the fact that due to her illness, she will never be able to have kids. Each character is given a solid background and a description of what happens in their future after this moment in their life.

Julie is the daughter of a therapist and is forced to attend a therapy circle for young women. She enjoys starting relationships with other guys though she never takes them very far. She always returns to Jamie but her unwillingness to have sex with him causes friction between them. Jamie struggles with his attraction to Julie and also the information he received from the feminist literature.

William and Dorothea strike up a relationship as William helps renovate the old house they live in Santa Barbara. They are mystified by the latest trends in popular music especially the growing interest in punk rock that has capture Jamie's imagination. Jamie is concerned about his mother, her loneliness and constant smoking that will eventually lead to her death. The movie wasn't for me and I understand that. I found it a bit slow at parts. I think Annette Bening will get a nomination but the film won't receive much other recognition. 

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