Friday, January 27, 2017

20th Century Women: Monday, January 23 2017

20th Century Women, is written and directed by Mike Mills. It's semi-autobiographical, set in the 1970s, and based on his own experiences growing up with a Mom, and her sisters. He intended it as a salute to his mother, I believe.

Based in California, and at a time when thinking was changing around so many viewpoints, a film about 20th century women sounds an interesting concept. It might have been, if the subject had been dealt with by someone other than Mills. Dorothea, played by Annette Bening, is a bit scattered, Abby, played by Greta Gerwig, is a bit strange, and Julie, played by Elle Fanning, is another free spirit, driven by her surging hormones. I found I couldn't relate to any of them. They all seemed so shallow, self-centred, and lacking in any self-direction. Drifting through life, they really were totally uninteresting as people. Jamie, Dorothea's son played by Lucas Jade Zumann, appeared to me a not-too-swift loser who didn't know where he was going in life, and didn't know enough about anything to even care. I, certainly, was left not caring either. The acting was reasonably good, but the characters didn't resonate with me. I like people who are going somewhere in their lives. The conversations around the dinner table might have been shocking in the 1970s; in the present day they are boring, and even a little distasteful. There are some things best not brought to mind while eating, including bodily functions like contraception.

The direction didn't resonate either. The film moved so slowly, I had great difficulty in keeping my eyes open. One of our party, in fact, had a lovely sleep through it all. He definitely won't be recommending this film to his friends.

Santa Barbara, where the film was made, is reputed to be a lovely place. What a pity we didn't see any of it to enjoy its beauty. The movie could have been made in a studio, with one long-distance shot over what we presume to be Santa Barbara.

A light piece of fluff, it might be a way to pass a rainy afternoon, if you have nothing better to do.

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