Review

Mike Mills 20th Century Women, is a rather belated but most certainly welcome follow-up to 2010's Beginners.

Where the earlier film drew on Mills' relationship with his father who came out at the age of 75 following the death of Mills' mother, 20th Century Women is inspired by the women in his life growing up at the tail end of the 70s.

15 year old Jamie lives with his single mother Dorothea in 1979 Santa Barbara with boarders Abbie and William, and is in love with 17 year old best friend Julie who is only interested in sneaking into his room through the window at night to chat and sleep much to his increasing frustration. Dorothea decides that she needs help in raising Jamie to become the man she believes he can be and asks Abbie and Julie to share their lives with him.

Beautifully written and directed by Mike Mills, 20th Century Women is a poignant, moving and very funny coming of age drama with a fantastic ensemble cast. Annette Bening gives a career best performance as Dorothea and is equally matched by Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning as Abbie and Julie. Gerwig, in particular, impresses, toning down her familiar quirky style to deliver a surprisingly moving performance as a young woman recovering from cervical cancer. Relative newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann is also very good as Jamie, while Billy Crudup brings considerable charm to former hippie commune member William.

Strikingly shot by Green Room DoP Sean Porter and boasting an excellent soundtrack including Talking Heads, Black Flag and The Raincoats, 20th Century Woman is a film full of wonderful moments. One especially memorable scene involves Bening and Crudup attempting to dance to Black Flag's 'Nervous Breakdown' and Talking Heads' 'The Big Country'. Whilst an excruciatingly awkward dinner party proves that even the most familiar comedy tropes can still have plenty of life left in them.

Highly recommended.


By Kevin Knapman


20th Century Woman (15)


1h 58m

Director: Mike Mills

Starring
: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup

UK Release: Friday 10th February 2017






20th Century Woman: "Black Flag" Clip


20th Century Woman: "Are You Happy" Clip