20th Century Women is an absolute joy. It is film with a genuine affection for its characters – it’s laugh out loud funny and heart-breaking. It’s pertinent to the time in which we live. I laughed, I cried, and I spent the whole film wearing a big, stupid smile because it’s full of genuine, infectious warmth.
The film follows Dorothea, played superbly by Annette Benning, who cop-opts the women in her son’s life, Abbie and Julie, (played by Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning respectively), in helping to raise her son, Jamie. The other major player in proceedings is lodger William played by Billy Crudup.
‘The best thing about 20th Century Women is that each character feels real, and full.’
It’s interesting that one of the principle characters is played by Elle Fanning, who was so great in The Neon Demon, because The Neon Demon was a film about artifice, about characters who were dead in the eyes with nothing beneath the surface. In contrast, the best thing about 20th Century Women is that each character feels real, and full. The conceit of the plot is that each character is asked to share their life with Jamie, so we learn all about each character’s quirks, interests and passions. It was Roger Ebert who said that films are meant to be empathy machines, and that’s exactly what this film is.
‘It was Roger Ebert who said that films are meant to be empathy machines, and that’s exactly what this film is.’
It really is a film for everyone. I know that were moments and lines that I found painfully relatable from all of the characters. It also interwoven with a brilliant progressive feminist message which is just that, “every man should know what it is to be a women”. It’s also brilliantly made with gorgeous cinematography, production design, and great original music from Roger Neill. Go see it if you can.
(Image courtesy of Supplied)