Review: 20th Century Women

Title: 20th Century Women
MPAA Rating: 
Mike Mills
Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig
1 hr 59 mins

What It Is: Dorothea (Bening) had her son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) when she was 40. Now Jamie is 15 and going through the motions of puberty. Dorothea is worried about the male example in his life being that he doesn’t really have one. Instead, Dorothea seeks help from the young twentysomething cancer survivor Abbie (Gerwig) who lives with them and the seventeen-year-old Julie (Fanning) who Jamie has a crush on but only sees him as a friend.

What We Think: 2017 has yet to impress, that has ended. Mike Mills handles this story, which is sort of autobiographical and based on his mother, with a reckless aplomb. All of the performances are utterly refreshing. Annette Bening is as good as she’s ever been. She plays Dorothea as a strong but vulnerable woman who wants so much to guide her son to being a good human and a great man. Greta Gerwig continues to show she’s amazing, and Elle Fanning is real good. The story of this film though is young Mr. Lucas Jade Zumann. He typifies the teenage angst of his character and the soundtrack lifts some weight for him as well. From Talking Heads, Siouxsie and the Banshees to The Germs and Black Flag the punk rock-centric music is killer, especially for this punk loving critic.

Our Grade: A+, Look for this film (which opened January 20th here in the U.S.) to possibly end up in my best of 2017. From American Beauty to The Kids Are Alright Bening has to be in the conversation of underrated gems in the art of acting. Also I did not mention him but Billy Crudup is real good here, but his mustache is slightly better. I recommend this film about as highly as one can. See it!