7.3/10
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91 user 215 critic

20th Century Women (2016)

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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
Reviews
Popularity
3,776 ( 11)
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
Greta Gerwig ... Abbie
Billy Crudup ... William
Lucas Jade Zumann ... Jamie
Alison Elliott ... Mrs. Hamlin - Julie's Mother
Thea Gill ... Gail - Abbie's Mother
Vitaly Andrew LeBeau ... Young Jamie (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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,663,855, 28 April 2017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,757,620, 21 March 2017
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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa # 146164. See more »

Goofs

Dorothea is variously depicted discussing her stock portfolio with her son Jamie, quoting NYSE share prices in decimals, doing this in 1979. However, the switch to decimal from fractional stock prices in the U.S. did not occur until the year 2000. See more »

Quotes

Dorothea: I think history has been tough on men.I mean, they can't be what they were,and they can't figure out what's next.
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Connections

Features Casablanca (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

Why Can't I Touch It? (2001 Remastered Version)
Written by Pete Shelley, John Maher, Steve Diggle
Performed by The Buzzcocks
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User Reviews

Bening should be nominated in one of the best recent films.
16 January 2017 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"Guys aren't supposed to look like they're thinking about what they look like." Julie (Elle Fanning)

No they're not, but in Mike Mills' 20th Century Women, some rules don't apply, and the young man, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), is well on his way to come of age in a most unusual household. It's 1979, before the Internet and Reagan and after the Punk rage. In other words, it's a time of cultural and personal transition.

No one is more responsible for this cultural migration in the Fields family than Dorothea (Annette Bening), a middle-aged matriarch with wit and lungs that will, in 20 years, surrender to the assault of her incessant smoking (her voice-over narration tells us so). Dorothea has the calm, contemplative, accepting nature to guide her two children, Jamie and Abbie (Greta Gerwig), into a responsible adulthood prefaced by sexual exploration and establishment defiance.

Although I rarely comment on acting, I must single out Bening for a performance of rich nuance, eschewing the theatrics of Oscar baiting to give us a character with immense affection and uncertainty, just like many of us, I suspect. Her low-key but powerful interpretation should get an Oscar nod.

While the examination of teen sexuality in flux is well described, so too is Dorothea's odyssey from a broken marriage to a Zen-like acceptance. As in the iconic Seinfeld world, nothing seems to be happening. However beneath that middle-class ambiance lie hearts struggling with their own shifting shapes under the watchful eye of family.

20th Century Women is all about the overwhelming part family plays in human development, not in grandly dramatic exercises but in the small notes like sitting in bed chatting or going with mother to a nightclub. As the credit sequence will tell you, life turns out fairly well despite the uncertainties of daily vicissitudes documented so distinctly here.


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