Review: 20th Century Women

It takes a village...somewhat.

In the 1970's, a single mom, Dorthea (Annette Bening) owns a boarding house with her teenage son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) and two other tenants. When she feels she isn't reaching him, she enlists the help of one of her tenants, Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and her son's friend, Julie (Elle Fanning) to help "raise" him with her. 

I really love the way this story was told. We get to hear each of the main character's inner monologue some point and developed well. It's much more than just the struggle between Dorthea and Jamie, the film makes sure everyone gets their say. We see Abbie deal with recovering from cervical cancer, to Julie essentially using Jamie as her quasi-therapist at times. Jamie is probably the most interesting teenage boy I've seen in a movie in a long time. You don't often see teenagers questioning their parents unhappiness, or picking up feminist literature. Jamie is truly one of a kind.

The acting in this movie is astounding, particularly Bening, who was robbed of an Oscar nomination. Her face alone when her son tells her he got in a fist fight over "clitoral stimulation" should've earned her one. Zumann is also very strong and I'm always here for Gerwig playing un-Gerwig type characters.

While the pacing can be off here and there, the story and the acting elevate this to one of the most original films I've seen in a long time.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "Pretty music is used to hide how unfair and corrupt society is." - Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann)


  1. I definitely feel you on pacing. Something just felt lacking with this one for me, although I really enjoyed it. Have you seen Beginners? I think my hopes were just too too high, because i absolutely LOVED Beginners, and this one didn't quite hit that same mark.

    1. I really liked Beginners too! I didn't realize until now that the same director did both of those and Thumbsucker. Now I see the resemblance lol.

  2. This sounds terrific! Maybe I'll look for it this weekend.


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