20th Century Women08 Jan 2016
Let’s be clear about one thing: if you hire Greta Gerwig for a movie, you have to get her to dance. It would be such a waste of talent to not capture her dancing as much as possible, so it lasts forever and ever. Annette Bening’s talents are also marvelously on display here, but Billy Crudup and Elle Fanning deserve as much praise as she’s received.
The political, social and cultural aspects of this movie are interesting, and enough to chew on as the plot, characters and action largely follow a meandering path. But my thoughts mostly drifted toward the use of time in the movie. There are a number of interjections, with narration, images from the real world, and near the end, even depictions of the future. The idea that these characters, captured in a moment in time in their lives, but with full pasts and futures created another layer of fascination for me. It added a weight to their story that would not have been present otherwise. And it made me wonder about my own ability to understand my past or know my future.
Overall, the movie is not among the most memorable works of memoir. But it’s funny, layered, emotionally complex and culturally interesting.