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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.

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528 ( 78)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 66 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
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Julie's Mother
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Abbie's Mother
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Young Jamie (as Vitaly A. Lebeau)
Olivia Hone ...
Julie's Sister
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Charlie
Curran Walters ...
Matt
...
Julian
...
Trish
...
Cindy
...
Teen in Therapy
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Storyline

Love, life, and the struggles of a mother bringing up a son in the the early 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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1970s | mother | son | f rated | dinner | See All (67) »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 January 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

20. gadsimta sievietes  »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$130,467 (USA) (6 January 2017)

Gross:

$5,663,855 (USA) (28 April 2017)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As her character is based on the director's mother, Annette Bening watched a lot of Mike Mills' mother's favorite films, including Stage Door (1937) and movies starring Humphrey Bogart; his seminal film Casablanca (1942) is edited into the film. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Dorothea: He could write with his left hand and scratch my back with his right.
William: And that's it?
Dorothea: I love that.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film '72: Episode #46.4 (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

White Man (In Hammersmith Palais)
Performed by The Clash
Written by Mick Jones, Joe Strummer, Paul Simonon,Topper Headon
Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Limited, by arrangement with Sony Music
Licensing
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User Reviews

Bening should be nominated in one of the best recent films.
16 January 2017 | by (United States) – See 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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