By Luciana Leitão
20th Century Women, by Mike Mills, is a story of three powerful women of different ages, in a self-discovery journey, during the late 1970s. It only holds one timid Oscar nomination, but it is a huge film — one that features a powerful cast, a powerful story, shot in an original way. One of my favourites for this year.
The main characters are Dorothea (played by Annette Bening), a divorced woman in her mid-50s and her 15 year old son, Jamie. The action is set in Santa Barbara, 1979, in a house that gathers Dorothea and her son, as well as the 24 year old Abbie, William, a fix-it-all, and the 17 year old Julie, who always around the house.
Dorothea thinks she is not able to tame her son, asking for young Abbie and Julie for help. From then on, there is a succession of events, all around Jamie’s self-discovery, with a little help of all that are surrounding. Actually, it is a self-discovery journey of all surrounding him.
The cast is terrific, with Annette Bening giving an acting lesson to us, humble viewers. Dorothea, her character, is a confused, nostalgic and lost in time character. that, at the same time, is strong and bold. The film is filled of fantastic moments — dances, dialogues, talks — that linger on long after the film ends.
Set in the 1970s, 20th Century Women also covers with subtlety the historic time in the US, through the music, the moments and the struggles. The characters are deep, well thought out, profound. The film moves us deeply, as we move into the lives of this fantastic quintet.