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Review: 20th Century Women

20th Century Women
12.22.2016
4 10

PLOT: Three different women explore life and love in Southern California during the late Seventies.

REVIEW: There was promise here. 20TH CENTURY WOMEN offers up a solid cast with an exciting new filmmaker and an intriguing subject. In fact, there is likely going to be Academy Award buzz when it comes to acting nods in this story of three different women living in Southern California during the late Seventies. The biggest problem here is that it was difficult to feel much for anyone involved. Whether it is the ultra serious Annette Bening or the wacky Greta Gerwig, their work is fine but the characters they play are at times quite frustrating.

Dorothea (Bening) is a single mother trying desperately to raise her son the best she can. She does have a little help from a young photographer that lives with them named Abbie (Gerwig). However, things are complicated for teenage Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) when it comes to growing up without a father. He even shares an unusual relationship with pretty Julie (Elle Fanning) who constantly sleeps over, yet sex is never involved. And then there is William (Billy Crudup), a friend that Dorothea hopes will bring a little fatherly influence to her son.

2017 20th century women alia shawkat annette bening billy crudup comedy drama elle fanning greta gerwig mike mills

As much as I appreciate the amazing talent on-screen, the script - written by director Mike Mills - fails to deliver a story that I cared to hear. Dorothea is a well meaning and loving mother and Bening gives a good show, but something about her never connects. The relationship with her son is slightly uninspired and her own dim understanding of him and those around her is tiresome. Much like BEGINNERS was based on Mills father, this takes a look at the filmmaker's own mother. Unfortunately, it is a meandering, and at times, dull experience that rarely delves much deeper than a Hallmark card.

As a fan of Gerwig, the role of Abbie is one of the least successful examinations. The David Bowie fan is flighty and a little too precious. She is usually quite good at playing a character a little lost in the world, but there is nothing new here. This is not a bad performance, just an empty character. Elle Fanning fares slightly better with her free spirited teenager Julie. Ms. Fanning works well with Zumann, offering what felt like the only truly honest relationship. Perhaps if the focus had been placed on them, it would have made for a more engaging movie going experience.

This is the kind of film that is more of a slice of life, and that is fine. Unfortunately, if that life doesn’t resonate with you then it will surely disappoint. Bening is always terrific, so she’s not the issue here. In fact, the actors aren’t the issue at all. However, the world that has been painted around them and the characters they play rarely leave an impression. Almost immediately after the credits, it was a real challenge to remember what I had just watched.

2017 20th century women alia shawkat annette bening billy crudup comedy drama elle fanning greta gerwig mike mills  

20TH CENTURY WOMEN offers real talent with a great cast, yet it is ultimately a slight and forgettable film. Aside from the charming scenes involving Fanning and Zumann, there was little here that I truly appreciated. It is well shot and its heart appears to be in the right place. I just wish there was more to connect to than just a bunch of characters rambling on about life and what they are looking for from it. This may work for some for sure, so good on you if it does.

Source: JoBlo.com

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12:35PM on 12/22/2016
Ugh, right? I hate when there's talking in movies.
Ugh, right? I hate when there's talking in movies.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:36PM on 12/22/2016
Must be the holidays. People are being rude or smartass on the internet. Oh wait... that's all the time.
Must be the holidays. People are being rude or smartass on the internet. Oh wait... that's all the time.
12:51PM on 12/22/2016
I didn't realize the strikeback section was only allowed for supportive commentary.
I didn't realize the strikeback section was only allowed for supportive commentary.
1:14PM on 12/22/2016
Okay, if you were REALLY trying to start a discussion about this film then I certainly apologize. That said, the above comment sure sounded like a troll. Either way, we disagree, happy holidays.
Okay, if you were REALLY trying to start a discussion about this film then I certainly apologize. That said, the above comment sure sounded like a troll. Either way, we disagree, happy holidays.
1:18PM on 12/22/2016
A sincere happy holidays to you as well
A sincere happy holidays to you as well
1:22PM on 12/22/2016
Same to you.
Same to you.
-3
11:34AM on 12/22/2016
A fanboy hates a film about strong and complex women, a film with a 92% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Tells me all I need to know.
A fanboy hates a film about strong and complex women, a film with a 92% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Tells me all I need to know.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:58AM on 12/22/2016
I know, right? How dare he post a different opinion from the almighty rotten tomatoes consensus. If only there were words we could read that might explain his rating...
I know, right? How dare he post a different opinion from the almighty rotten tomatoes consensus. If only there were words we could read that might explain his rating...
12:23PM on 12/22/2016
It's really not much of a review. Says he didn't care about anyone or their lives. So I stand by what I said. The fanboy hates a film about strong and complex women. Big shocker.
It's really not much of a review. Says he didn't care about anyone or their lives. So I stand by what I said. The fanboy hates a film about strong and complex women. Big shocker.
12:32PM on 12/22/2016
I also loved Carol, Edge of Seventeen, Howard's End and probably hundreds and hundreds of other films featuring strong women. I just didn't like this film and it had nothing to do with it being about strong women. Glad this is how you spend the holidays, trashing people you know nothing about online.
I also loved Carol, Edge of Seventeen, Howard's End and probably hundreds and hundreds of other films featuring strong women. I just didn't like this film and it had nothing to do with it being about strong women. Glad this is how you spend the holidays, trashing people you know nothing about online.
12:40PM on 12/22/2016
Meandering and dull, like Patterson?
Meandering and dull, like Patterson?
1:32PM on 12/22/2016
"A fanboy hates a film about strong and complex women, a film with a 92% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Tells me all I need to know."

Because all a film needs to be good is to be about strong and complex women? I love GOOD movies about strong and complex women, but I don't consider all movies that feature strong and complex women to be automatically good for that reason only. If I can't connect with the story and characters, it's not going to entertain me.

Being a woman myself and also
"A fanboy hates a film about strong and complex women, a film with a 92% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Tells me all I need to know."

Because all a film needs to be good is to be about strong and complex women? I love GOOD movies about strong and complex women, but I don't consider all movies that feature strong and complex women to be automatically good for that reason only. If I can't connect with the story and characters, it's not going to entertain me.

Being a woman myself and also being a teenager in the late 70s, I can still say the trailer to this movie does nothing for me and this review seals it.
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