A single mom enlists allies to raise her teenage son.
20th Century Women
Annette Bening’s latest screen turn brings to life a character “too singular to be summed up in a few tired adjectives,” said David Edelstein in New York magazine. Dorothea is a 55-year-old single mom who runs a boarding house in 1979 Santa Barbara, Calif. Because she’s worried that she isn’t doing enough to raise her 15-year-old son well, she calls on two younger women to help guide him. As fantastic as Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning are in those roles, Bening delivers the kind of performance “that makes you feel more alive.” At times, 20th Century Women “can shock you with its natural wit,” said Andrew Lapin in NPR.org. After Gerwig’s punk-rocker feminist introduces Lucas Jade Zumann’s Jamie to Our Bodies, Ourselves, he gets in a fistfight over what women want in bed. Fanning’s Julie creeps into Jamie’s bed every night but insists on maintaining a platonic relationship. No plotline goes where expected, though, and this warm, tender comedy proves “willing to be tough when it needs to be,” said Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post. Openhearted and keenly intelligent, it “bursts with the sad, messy, ungovernable beauty of life.”