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
During rehearsals, the cast was encouraged to bring in music they believed their characters listened to. Then, to encourage familiarity among the cast, there would be a dance party where the only rule was that everyone had to dance and it didn't matter what the song was. See more »
Black Flag's 'Nervous Breakdown' EP was released five months before the scene in which it appears, but the 10" pressing shown did not appear until the '90s. See more »
Having your heart broken is a tremendous way to learn about the world.
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Just like the central character in this film, I was born in 1964. Just like him, I was 15 in 1979. My mother was only two years older than his mother. So, you'd think I could relate to this film. But I couldn't, really.
Maybe that is because I didn't grow up in a bohemian single parent household in Santa Barbara. Life for 15 year old Jamie was different than it was from me. I had two parents, but I didn't have a skateboard.
Yes, I can remember Jimmy Carter being president. But I didn't see his impressive and remarkably modern 'Crisis of Confidence'-speech, which is an important feature in one of the scenes of this film. There's only one thing which caused somewhat nostalgic emotions: making mix tapes. Yes, I did that too.
'20th Century Women', which is essentially about a mother raising a son, has nice scenes. I really liked the explanation about punk rock music to the 55 year old mother: she complains about the lack of beauty, but exactly that is the strength of it. There are many such scenes, with small but meaningful events, telling a lot about how life was in the seventies.
But the story itself didn't captivate me. Jamie's mother thinks she can't raise Jamie on her own, so she involves his best friend (a girl) and a photographer who rents a room in the house (also a girl). They teach him lots of things about sex, music, seducing women, and life in general. All characters are in a way in search of there own destiny. So, a lot of soul searching is going on. Anyway, the film contains one of the best one-liners I've heard in years: 'Wondering if you're happy is a great shortcut to just being depressed'.
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