‘20th Century Women’ Review: A Tender Celebration of the Feminine Spirit
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.