In Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women, Greta Gerwig is a red-haired punk who listens to the Talking Heads, takes photographs of her belongings as a sort of pre-Instagram self-portrait series, and is recovering from cervical cancer. In every way, Gerwig’s Abbie defies the stereotypes of female characters we often see in indie movies. She’s not the manic pixie dream girl nor the cool girl who falls for the older single guy, two clichés the character could have easily fallen into. Instead Gerwig gives a career-best performance as a woman full of contradictions.
Early in 20th Century Women, Elle Fanning’s rebellious teenager Julie asks, “Don’t you need a man to raise a man?” With little pause, Annette Bening’s single mother Dorothea assuredly responds, “No, I don’t think so.” The latest from Mike Mills (Thumbsucker, Beginners), finds three women helping raise a teenage boy. It’s a premise that could easily crash and burn in the wrong hands by sacrificing nuance for stereotypes or marginalizing female voices to emphasize a male perspective. Yet 20th Century Women avoids all of that. Instead Mills has made not only one of the best films of the year, but one that unabashedly celebrates the feminine spirit.
Wes Anderson popped back up last month with a charming holiday-appropriate commercial for H&M, his first new work since 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was neat, but a pale substitute for a new feature. Fortunately, Anderson fans (or, as we’re more commonly called, Wes Fan-dersons) can take solace that his next major effort is well on its way: Anderson resurfaced today with a three-minute video in which he introduces the cast and first snippet of footage from his upcoming Isle of Dogs, a stop-motion animated project that returns to the talking-animal precocity of Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.
It’s 1979 in Santa Barbara: the hippie-dippie ‘70s are about to give way to punk and the wave of nihilism that goes with it, Jimmy Carter frets about a crisis of conscience on the TV set, and one kid’s trying to figure out how he fits into all of it.
You know when a trailer captures a mood of a film so well you just want to roll around in it and soak it up? That’s how the first teaser for Mike Mills’ 20th ‘Century Women’ feels, capturing the aura of a bohemian family in late 1970s Santa Barbara so well you can almost smell the ocean water and patchouli oil.
It’s been a little over 20 years since we were first introduced to Dawn Wiener, the subject of Todd Solondz’s cult indie favorite Welcome to the Dollhouse. Although we were led to believe Dawn Wiener was dead in the Solondz Cinematic Universe (thanks to the opening of Palindromes), she’s very much alive in the new trailer for Wiener-Dog, the semi-Dollhouse sequel in which the infinitely charming Greta Gerwig takes on the role originated by Heather Matarazzo.
Looking at that photo above, one might think that Wiener-Dog is a charming, little movie about a dachshund. Even the synopsis of the film provided on Sundance’s official site provides this description: Wiener-Dog tells several stories featuring...
Saoirse Ronan has quickly evolved from a young, interesting actor with breakout roles in Atonement and Hanna, into a full-fledged star, recently picking up a Best Actress nomination from the Academy for her role in last year’s subdued drama Brooklyn. Ronan will continue to keep things interesting with her next role, teaming up with Greta Gerwig for her directorial debut project, Lady Bird.
It’s a year of milestones for filmmaker Noah Baumbach. 2015 marks 20 years since his debut film, Kicking and Screaming, and a decade since his breakout indie as a writer and director, the autobiographical The Squid and The Whale. 2015 is also the first time in Baumbach’s career he’s released two features in one calendar year; his last effort, the outstanding While We’re Young, opened in theaters in April. Four months later, Baumbach returns with Mistress America, a bubbly screwball comedy about a lonely college freshman named Tracy (Lola Kirke) whose depressing social life gets a serious shot in the arm after she meets her vivacious new stepsister Brooke (Greta Gerwig).
The second trailer for Mistress America is just as wonderful as the first. The Frances Ha duo of star / writer Greta Gerwig and director Noah Baumbach return with what appears to be an equally charming and relatable follow-up about living in New York in your 20s. It looks as though their collaboration has paid off again, and we’re all happily reaping the reward.