I was kinda lukewarm on Beginners. Mills’ quirky style felt somewhat artificial and twee but I think 20th Century Women has made me reconsider him. It’s that moment in a director’s career where you stop comparing them to other directors and start realising “oh no, this is genuinely the way they see the world”. This film feels like it belongs to him, like something only he could make. There’s a specificity here that belongs to a very special kind of filmmaker. I dig it.
Honestly this is a pretty great film with a phenomenal ensemble all given roles worthy of their talent. There’s also a record shop’s worth of killer, period-specific soundtrack cuts with special emphasis on Talking Heads aka the band that changed my life. Probably the best looking 70s-set movie since Inherent Vice too. It feels heartfelt, genuine and true. Already looking forward to seeing it again. I will also self-identify as an Art-Fag from here on out.