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20th Century Women

Mike Mills’s new comedy is every bit as rich and engaging as the director’s Thumbsucker and Beginners. A moving portrait of particular people in a particular place (Santa Barbara) at a particular moment in the 20th century (1979), the film features Annette Bening as Dorothea, a single mother raising her teenage son in a sprawling bohemian house shared by an itinerant carpenter (Billy Crudup) and a punk artist with a Bowie haircut (Greta Gerwig), and frequented by Jamie’s rebellious friend Julie (Elle Fanning). Rich in warmth, insight and humanity, its sense of unified cohesion is achieved through a cast all operating at the very top of their game.