20th Century Women

I enjoyed Thumbsucker when it came out, but forgot all about Mike Mills, the writer-director, so it’s great to see him back with this gem of a film. It’s a meandering affair that will probably be disliked by those who like their plots to proceed from A to Z without pause or deviation, but I liked it a lot and the performances are enjoyable, particularly Annette Bening as the worried mother of a teenage son. I appreciated the way it pays plenty of attention to all of the characters, with their pasts, presents and futures all cleverly worked into the narrative, and there are some lovely montages and some dated special effects employed to evoke the period, such as the psychedelic vehicle trails. This is really good, and I expect it’ll feature fairly highly in my list of favourite 2017 films; despite receiving plenty of critical acclaim it’s a shame that it didn’t find a bigger audience. (****)