Third time’s a charm! Though there’s nothing really all that bad to say about Beginners and Thumbsucker, the first two features by filmmaker Mike Mills, they are, at best, innocuous delights lit up by an array of great performances and thoroughly wondrous cinematography. With 20th Century Women, his take on the life of a single mother at the end of the 1970s in Santa Barbara, there’s a bit more anxiousness to the narrative, a sense that the trajectory of the drama isn’t thoroughly worked out in every character’s head right when the movie starts. There’s a fleeting feeling of spontaneity and warmth that, more times than not, transcends Mills’ more cute and adorable depictions of his characters, which slackens the tremendous dramatic tension that he’s built up.
Even with its faults, 20th Century Women feels like a step forward for the director and one can rightly assume that Annette Bening will get serious awards consideration, with the rest of the robust cast possibly getting some nominations or wins as well. The newest trailer, which you can take a look at below, gives a sense of the story and Mills’ dreamy aesthetic – what do you expect from a man who has an Air song named after him? – without giving away the more inventive, challenging, and effective stretches of the film’s narrative. It’s a miracle: a trailer that doesn’t give away the entire movie in 2 minutes of footage.
20th Century Women will hit limited theaters nationwide on December 25th.
Here’s the new trailer for 20th Century Women:
Here’s the official synopsis for 20th Century Women:
With 20th Century Women, acclaimed filmmaker Mike Mills (the Academy Award®-winning Beginners) brings us a multilayered, funny, heart-stirring celebration of the complexities of women, family, time, and the connections we search for our whole lives.
Set in Santa Barbara, the film follows Dorothea Fields (Annette Bening), a determined single mother in her mid-50s who is raising her adolescent son, Jamie (newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann, in a breakout performance) at a moment brimming with cultural change and rebellion. Dorothea enlists the help of two younger women in Jamie’s upbringing – Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a free-spirited punk artist living as a boarder in the Fields’ home, and Julie (Elle Fanning), a savvy and provocative teenage neighbor.
20th Century Women is a poignant love letter to the people who raise us—and the times that form us—as this makeshift family forges fragile connections that will mystify and inspire them through their lives.