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20th Century Women (2016)

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2:22 | Trailer
The story of a teenage boy, his mother, and two other women who help raise him among the love and freedom of Southern California of 1979.

Director:

Mike Mills

Writer:

Mike Mills
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Popularity
3,800 ( 316)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 70 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Annette Bening ... Dorothea Fields
Elle Fanning ... Julie Hamlin
Greta Gerwig ... Abbie Porter
Billy Crudup ... William
Lucas Jade Zumann ... Jamie Fields
Alison Elliott ... Julie's Mother
Thea Gill ... Gail Porter
Vitaly Andrew LeBeau ... Young Jamie Fields (as Vitaly A. Lebeau)
Olivia Hone Olivia Hone ... Julie's Sister
Waleed Zuaiter ... Charlie
Curran Walters ... Matt
Darrell Britt-Gibson ... Julian
Alia Shawkat ... Trish
Nathalie Love ... Cindy
Cameron Protzman ... Teen in Therapy
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Storyline

Love, life, and the struggles of a mother bringing up a son in the the late 70's. The ignorance of a free spirit against the needs of a young man trying to find his true character and beliefs. Living in a bohemian household shared with 3 like minded spirited people to help pay the rent, his mother tries to establish bonds that he cannot deal with. She cannot deal with his inability to talk, and enlists the help of other females in his life to share the burden of his upbringing. Slowly life unravels for them all without understanding how. In spite of their perceived struggles, they all go on to live defined lives without any serious consequences. Written by Peter Cox

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual material, language, some nudity and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

A24 Films | Official Facebook | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 January 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Twentieth Century Women See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$111,200, 1 January 2017

Gross USA:

$5,664,764

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,214,806
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is semi-autobiographical, according to Michael Mills. The main cast members are based on one or multiple influences upon Mills from his childhood. Annette Bening's character in particular is based partly on his mother, but with the emphasis on Bening's particular spin on her character. See more »

Goofs

One of the stocks shown in the newspaper is ServiceNow (NOW) which was founded in 2003 and came public in 2012. See more »

Quotes

Jamie: Age is a bourgeois construct.
See more »

Connections

References The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Drugs
Performed by Talking Heads
Written by Brian Eno, David Byrne
See more »

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User Reviews

 
communal confusion
12 January 2017 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Writer/director Mike Mills has found a niche, and a form of therapy, by exploring and exposing his life in a most public manner … on the silver screen. Beginners (2010) brought us the story of his father's (an Oscar winner for Christopher Plummer) late life pronouncement of homosexuality. This time, Mr. Mills turns his lens and his pen towards his mother, and he seems to understand her much better in retrospect than in the summer of 1979 when the film is set.

This can be viewed as the story of three women, masked as a coming-of-age story for a teenage boy. Annette Bening stars as Dorothea, a chain-smoking single mother in her mid-50's who seems to have surrendered to her own sadness and loneliness, while simultaneously trying to make sense of a changing world. One of her tenants is Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a photographer and NYC punk scene drop-out, who is now battling cervical cancer. The third female is the seemingly always present Julie (Elle Fanning), a sexually promiscuous and borderline depressive 18 year old who values the platonic friendship she has with Dorothea's 15 year old son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zuman).

Factor in another tenant in the form of laid-back handyman and former hippie William (Billy Crudup), and we have a makeshift family in a communal setting that seems almost normal for 1979 Santa Barbara. Dorothea enlists the other two women to show Jamie their lives – the intent being to influence his growth in ways an older mother can't. Of course, Jamie is at the age where exploring life isn't necessarily best served by tagging along on a trip to the gynecologist with Abbie or having no-touch sleepovers with Julie.

Ms. Bening finds her groove as the story progresses and we feel her struggling to connect to each of the characters. When William plays a Black Flag song, her reaction is priceless: "They know they're not good, right?" She doesn't mean it as a put down, but rather her attempt to understand why her son is drawn to this. An even more emotionally naked moment occurs when Jamie is reading a passage from "The Feminine Mystique" to his mother. It's a passage that captures what he thinks of her, as well as what she thinks of herself … a mostly invisible woman finding it difficult to be a parent while also maintaining a self.

Mills is not one to be nostalgic or glorify the past. His brilliant writing includes lines like "Wondering if you are happy is a great short cut to being depressed." The movie can be slow moving at times, but it's the best I've seen in awhile at expressing what makes us tick. The film is what Running with Scissors should have been. Real people are sometimes interesting, sometimes boring, and sometimes annoying. Each of the characters here are all of the above (just like you and me).


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