Wednesday, February 22, 2017
20th Century Women (2016)
And the writing is excellent to boot, but so are the performances, both individually and as a group. Billy Crudup, who was underwhelming in Jackie, is outstanding here as a man who successfully seduces women but then doesn't know what to do with them. Annette Benning is outstanding as Dorothea, a 50 something year old mother set into the 1960s. She presides over a rambling household with an open-door policy and two lodgers. Dorothea senses that a single mother might not be "enough" to usher Jamie into this new phase in his life. She asks her lodgers to help Jamie by sharing their lives with him. How this will help is not exactly clear, but it drives the story in a positive direction forward.
Dorothea is terrific (despite the above described momentary lack of judgement). She has a way of squinting tightly when she listens to people talk: she tries to figure out what's really going on beneath the surface. Her son wriggles away from that piercing gaze. She throws makeshift dinner parties for friends (and anyone else she happens to meet over the course of her day). She's a homebody, but not a recluse.