20th Century Women

20th Century Women ★★★½

This was pretty good! The characters and their stories all come from Mike Mills' own life, and it really shows. These characters, whether I loved them all or not, all felt very real to me. The great performances really helped to sell that. I thought everyone was great, but Greta Gerwig stood out to me. I've always liked her performances, but I feel like this is her best performance yet.

A lot of my problems with this film are similar to the ones I had with Beginners. I'm really not a big fan of voice over narration, even less so when it's from multiple sources. I wasn't crazy about the sequences in which characters talked about the past and the present. Why can these characters see through time, and why is the year so important? At least this is a unique creative choice, though, and I can appreciate that. What I wasn't as appreciative of was when characters back stories were told through voice over narration. Not only did it feel lazy to me, but it didn't even seem necessary. Most of it was information we either already got through context or just didn't need to know.

Other, visual stylistic choices worked better for me. My biggest issue with this film (and Beginners to a certain extent) was that it felt like a very heartfelt film wrapped up in several unnecessary layers. Still, though, it has a very heartfelt center.

Reading this all back it sounds kind of harsh; I really did like this movie, and I think Mike Mills is an interesting filmmaker. I just don't love the way he chooses to tell his stories.

Rating: 64/100

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