At the 62, our current favorite flick is Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women. This beautifully crafted film encompasses doubts and lost confidence in life, especially for women, during the late 70s in California.
The film’s plot revolves around Birkenstock-clad matriarch Dorothea Fields, who struggles to raise her son by herself, leading her to enlist the help of two younger women, 20-something Abbie and teenage Julie. These three women end up exploring ideas of love and freedom in their own lives as they try to help lead young Jamie into manhood.
20th Century Women brings to the screen incredibly thoughtful, and eccentric, human relationships that are just really well acted. Yet, what makes this film a favorite is its several feminist nods. Abbie, Julie, and Dorothea want Jamie to become a ‘good man’ who understands and can respect women, leading them to real aloud passages from feminism texts to Jamie in their cheery yellow kitchen and start an empowering conversation during a dinner party. These three women are shown to embody different types of feminism during the course of the movie, but this diversity actually proves beneficial to Jamie, a message that shines throughout the film.
Planned Parenthood also plays a role in the film for Julie and Abbie, highlighting its significance for women amidst current plans to defund it in. In fact, 20th Century Women‘s studio, A24, has donated to the organization from some of the film’s proceeds.
Right now in the world, feminism may seem fractured or frazzled, but 20th Century Women brings us a sunbeam of hope.