6 years ago, writer/director Mike Mills made an astounding film called Beginners. The story followed a son processing the death of his father and remembering his father’s very colorful life through all of its ups and down over many years all while managing the ups and downs of his own life. It’s hysterical and heart wrenching and gives a great glimpse into a very specific person’s life over decades of time, but it never ever feels jarring. If anything, it’s comforting to see the intertwining tapestries of lives between family, friends, and lovers and Mills presents that exquisitely.
Mills’ latest 20th Century Women, in many ways, is a great, spiritual-sequel-of-sorts to Beginners as it follows a bit of the same framework and achieves a similar life-affirming euphoria when the credits roll.
Everyone gives a damn fine performance here from top to bottom. Annette Benning, Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning, Billy Crudup, and Lucas Jade Zumann live and breathe all the rich detail and depth for their characters that Mills has dreamed up for them. The humor is so deeply rooted in each characters’ personal human experience that it’s both laugh out loud funny and moving at the same time.
Also, as the title suggests, it showcases women in a very complete, unique, 4 dimensional way that comes in at a very crucial time for visibility of women in film.
Get a bit of a taste of what we’re talking about in this clip. 20th Century Women comes out in theaters this Christmas and, already, is a contender for a few awards.