20th Century Women ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Two observations I’d make after watching this film: one is how impressed I am with the generally high quality of films in this year’s Oscars; and the other is that Annette Bening was robbed of at least a nomination, if not the statue, for Best Actress as she gave a heartfelt, subtle and truly amazing performance in this film. Revolving around the sexually liberated and often unconventional characters writer-director Mike Mills grew up with as a 15 years old, in particular the special relationship with his struggling single mother which Bening plays, the film is a fascinating characters studies – note the plural – and tribute to these people and what the film lacks in a substantial story, it more than made up for in the witty and thought provoking observations it makes about growing up in the 70s. Wes Anderson, Woody Allen and even Armistead Maupin all appear to have influenced the writing and visual stylings of this often humorous and heart-warming film. And while sometimes that sense of nostalgia can be overwhelming and its use of stock footage could have been a bit more restrained, this is nonetheless a beautifully composed, charming and often understating film that it’s well worth looking out for as it seems to have got lost in a particularly good Oscar season this year.

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