Exactly how Annette Bening failed to net an Oscar nomination for her role in this film will remain one of the great cinematic mysteries of our generation. Mike Mills’ even-keeled family drama boasts a terrific ensemble cast, but revolves around every wink, nod and smile Bening delivers as Dorothea, sprightly matriarch to a ragtag group of young drifters during the summer of 1979. While raising her precocious teenage son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), Dorothea rents out spare rooms to moody artist Abbie (a subtly raw Greta Gerwig) and loner mechanic William (Billy Crudup), with tough-as-nails girl next door Julie (Elle Fanning) serving as a surrogate daughter. But Jamie is her world, and the film does a pitch-perfect job of portraying their complex relationship. In trying to bring some semblance of order to her chaotic life, Dorothea finds herself exploring her own choices and aspirations against the daydream backdrop of California’s last vestiges of hippiedom.
20th Century Women I Directed by Mike Mills (USA 2016) with Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Starts May 18
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