20th Century Women

Director: Mike Mills
Year Released: 2016
Rating: 3.0

Typically confused youngster Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), being raised by (progressive) single mom Dorothea (Annette Bening) in the late 1970's California, gets Life Tutelage in how to understand women from not only her, but free spirit Julie (Elle Fanning) and budding feminist Abbie (Greta Gerwig) ... with some well-meaning advice from surrogate father figure/house-fixer-upper/sculptor William (Billy Crudup). It's tempting to knock a movie 'about women' that's written and directed by a man (perhaps a certain Ms. July had a secret say in some of this?), but there are some insightful moments/conversations to be had (Zumann and Fanning's bedside conversations feel all too real) - fundamentally, it may not be quite as 'deep' as it thinks it is ("womanhood" is not exactly easy to 'define'), yet all three principal female figures feel fully fleshed-out ... and Mills treats all of them with an equal amount of respect (despite tinkering with the frame rates a little too often for 'poignancy'). Think of it as a humorless Dazed & Confused (in the best possible way).