Starring: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann, Billy Crudup
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Comedy-drama written and directed by Mike Mills. Set in in Santa Barbara at a particular moment in the 20th century, 1979, 20th Century Women (2016) follows Dorothea Fields (Annette Bening), a determined single mother in her mid-50s who is raising her adolescent son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) at a moment brimming with cultural change and rebellion in a sprawling bohemian house, which is shared by an itinerant carpenter (Billy Crudup) and a punk artist, Abbie, (Greta Gerwig) and frequented by Jamie’s rebellious friend, Julie (Elle Fanning).
Our Favorite Quotes:
President Jimmy Carter: [on TV] As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government, for schools, the news media, and other institutions. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance. But it is the truth, and it is a warning. It is a crisis of confidence. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation. Too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We always believed that we were part of a great movement of humanity itself involved in a search for freedom. We are at a turning point in our history. The path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom. It is a certain route to failure. Thank you and good night.
Dorothea’s Dinner Guest: [as they are all sat watching Carter’s speech on TV] Wow. He is so screwed.
Dorothea’s Dinner Guest #2: No s**t.
Dorothea’s Dinner Guest: It’s over for him.
Dorothea Fields: I thought that was beautiful.
Dorothea Fields: [to Jamie] When you were born I told you life was very big and unknown. There were animals and cities and music, you’d fall in love, have passions, have meaning, but now it’s 1979 and nothing means anything, and I know you less everyday.
'Wondering if you're happy is a great shortcut to just being depressed.' - Dorothea (20th Century Women) Click To Tweet
Dorothea Fields: [to Julie and Abbie] I think maybe you guys can help me with Jamie. How do you be a good man? What does that even mean nowadays?
Julie: Don’t you need a man to raise a man?
Dorothea Fields: No, I don’t think so. I think you’re what’s going to work for him.
Dorothea Fields: What?
Jamie: Thinking that you know everything that’s going on.
Dorothea Fields: No, I don’t. I just think that, you know, having your heart broken is a tremendous way to learn about the world.
Dorothea Fields: [to Jamie] This is the really hard part, and then it gets better, and then it gets hard again.
'Men always feel like they have to fix things for women when they're not doing anything. Some things just can't be fixed.' - Dorothea Fields (20th Century Women) Click To Tweet
Jamie: Do you think you’re happy?
Dorothea Fields: Seriously? Look, wondering if you’re happy it’s a great shortcut to just being depressed.
Jamie: You just feel guilty because it’s just you.
Dorothea Fields: You don’t know what I’m feeling.
Dorothea Fields: Men always feel like they have to fix things for women when they’re not doing anything. Some things just can’t be fixed. Just be there. Somehow that’s hard for all of you.
Jamie: Mom, I’m not all men. Okay, I’m just me.
Dorothea Fields: Well, yes and no.
'Having your heart broken is a tremendous way to learn about the world.' - Dorothea Fields (20th Century Women) Click To Tweet
Dorothea Fields: [to Abbie] Having a kid seems like the hardest thing. How much you love the kid, you’re just pretty much screwed.
Dorothea Fields: [to Abbie] You get to see him out in the world as a person. I never will.
Abbie Porter: Whatever you think your life is going to be like, just know, it’s not going be anything like that.
'Owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning.' - President Jimmy Carter (20th Century Women) Click To Tweet
Abbie Porter: Stop it. I’m menstruating.
Dorothea Fields: Abbie, you know what? You’re menstruating, okay. But do you have to say it, okay? Do we really need to know everything that’s going on with you?
Abbie Porter: What? I am menstruating. What is that a big deal?
Dorothea Fields: We don’t need to hear about that, thank you.
Abbie Porter: [to Jamie] If you ever want to have an adult relationship with a woman, like if you want to have sex with a woman’s vagina, you need to be comfortable. With the fact that the vagina menstruates, I’m just saying, menstruation, it’s not a big problem. So, start singing now, menstruation.
Dorothea Fields: No.
Abbie Porter: Yes, menstruation.
Dorothea Fields: Jamie, no. You don’t have to.
Julie: What about you? It’s always about the mother.
Dorothea Fields: Okay, Jesus. Uh, yeah.
Dorothea Fields: [to Jamie] So, sweetie, I don’t know if we ever figure our lives out, and the people who help you, they might not be who you thought or wanted. They might just be the people who show up.
'Too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.' - President Jimmy Carter (20th Century Women) Click To Tweet
William: Jamie, I also want to say, never have sex with just the vagina, you have to have sex with the whole woman.
Abbie Porter: That’s slightly off topic.
Dorothea Fields: I think history has been tough on men. I mean, they can’t be what they were, and they can’t figure out what’s next.
Julie: [to Jamie] Love is supposed to be a feeling that you feel. People say that they’re falling in love, but they’re not actually falling in love. It’s a fake connection that you feel with someone and marriage should never happen.
'I mean you don't kiss a woman unless you know what you mean by it.' - Dorothea Fields Click To Tweet
Abbie Porter: [to Jamie] You cannot let her sleep here if she’s not having sex with you. It’s disempowering.