Movie Review: 20th Century Women


Courtesy Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Here stand the five beautiful main characters of 20th Century Women: the handyman, William; Jamie’s friend, Julie; Dorothea; Abbie; and Jamie. These characters form a strong bond throughout the film that makes it lovely to watch.

Bea Nonnemaker, Staff Reporter

With basically nowhere to go and not much to do, I’ve been filling up my time by watching movies. At first, I took inspiration from online articles and blogs about the best movies to watch during quarantine. Then I took some time to peruse Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and an array of several other movie providers in order to see what each one had to offer. After watching a few adequate yet not spectacular movies, I went to my friends to see what suggestions they might have.

One of my friends suggested 20th Century Women, a movie about a boy growing up in California with his single mother. I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty this story held, as well as the cute storyline. To sum up the basis of the plot, the story includes Jamie, a 15-year-old and his mom, Dorothea, a free soul who’s also quite feminist. Jamie is young and not exactly sure who he wants to be. He’s starting to enter the phase where he doesn’t like his mom stepping into his personal life. However, he’s not old enough to make decisions on his own. To make some extra cash, Dorothea allows her handyman and a young girl named Abbie to lodge in the extra rooms in her house. Eventually, Dorothea no longer has a handle on Jamie and asks Abbie to help him through life.

If I were a movie connoisseur and were rating the film, I would give it an 8.5 out of 10. Movies have never been the first option for me when it comes to finding activities when I’m bored. I usually get more bored during a movie if it doesn’t keep me on the edge of my seat. However, this film was fascinating, as well as beautifully filmed. Although I was unable to talk to anyone directly, I read a few reviews and saw that Joe Morgenstern from The Wall Street Journal wrote, “[Director] Mr. Mills seems to have thrown everything he could think of into the mix, dramatic unities be damned, but suffused it all with a poetic sense of life’s goofiness, solemnity and evanescence.” I found this review to be extremely true because the movie was unlike many other dramas and included more funny and goofy moments. The film also went deep into the backstories and lives of each character. This allowed the audience to understand the trauma and hardships all the characters had endured. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys coming of age/family development films and anyone who likes good cinematography.

You can access 20th Century Women on Netflix.  Enjoy!