Coming of age during changing times
20th Century Women is a vibrant and exceptionally perceptive new dramatic comedy that explores the maternal efforts of Dorothea Fields, a single mother in her mid-50s, who is raising her adolescent son, Jamie, during a time of dramatic cultural changes and rebellion. This piercingly honest and witty coming of age story examines multiple generations of women as they navigate through and come to terms with themes of love, freedom, identity, and relationships.
Sharp dialogue & memorable characters
Set in Santa Barbara, California, the year is 1979 and previous visions of suburban and familial normality are breaking down rapidly. Authority is continuously called into question and the punk music scene is on the rise. Annette Bening electrifies in her role as Dorothea, a free-spirited woman who has lived her life according to her own rules, and who is raising her teenage son to do the same. Yet as misunderstandings between mother and son become increasingly regular, Dorothea begins to question her adaptability to changing times, feminism, art and alternative thinking. Intent on guiding Jamie out of a state of internal confusion and toward the development into a man, Dorothea enlists the help of two younger women - Abbie a punk loving photographer in her mid-20s who is living as a tenant in the Field’s home, and Julie, Jamie’s self-destructive and provocative best friend, to help her with Jamie’s upbringing, in the hopes that their own unique relationships with art, sexuality and idealistic thinking can serve as guidance for Jamie.
Director Mike Mills’ unique assortment of characters are unlikely to fade quickly from viewers’ minds. Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning and Billy Crudup deliver powerful performances alongside newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann. The dialogue is ripe with thought provoking discussions and fervent emotion, perhaps one of the defining reasons why 20th Century Women expertly captures the many challenges of growing up.
The relationship between a mother and her son
As the film progresses, it becomes evident that while Jamie is struggling to come to terms with himself, Dorothea is equally unsure of herself, her happiness and consequently, her capabilities of raising a teenager in a rapidly evolving society. Annette Bening perfectly exemplifies the subtle, yet painful moments of realization every parent experiences as they witness their children begin to come into their own. 20th Century Women humorously showcases the touching and sad reality that no matter what your age, one is always trying to make sense of their place in the world. While Jamie cultivates a unique relationship with each of the women in his life, the relationship that ultimately brings him to a place of pure and total self-awareness is that of his and his mother’s.
With its exhilarating sound score, visceral dialogue and exceptional cast, 20th Century Women will transport viewers to every raw, blissfully painful and true moment of self-exploration encountered along the way of finding oneself.
20th Century Women is now playing at The Grand Cinema. Films stay on screen as long as audience turnout supports them, so come check this one out this weekend if it interests you.