I liked this film a lot, although not quite as much as Robin, who loved it! I think women will enjoy it more, but the movie has plenty going for it, so I think most guys will like it, too. It is written and directed by Mike Mills (“Beginners”), and his mother is rumored to be the inspiration for the film. It is very funny, has considerable depth, and perceptively and poignantly reflects on the confusion and frenetic energy of the late 70’s. The ensemble cast is excellent, and I think Lucas Jade Zumann and Annette Bening both deserve AA nominations.
Fifty-five-year-old Dorothea Fields (Bening) is a unique women who likes to get to the heart of things and look below the surface. She doesn’t appear to be very well-off financially, although she has a job. She has raised her 15-year-old son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zuman) by herself. To help make ends meet, she rents out two rooms of her house, one to a free-spirit, out-there, 25ish-year-old, photographer/cervical cancer survivor Abbie (Greta Gerwig), and one to a hippie-ish carpenter/mechanic, William (Billy Crudup). Also spending considerable time at Dorothea’s home is Jamie’s best friend from childhood, Julie (Elle Fanning) – a pretty, depressed, promiscuous teenager. Julie can’t stand living at home, so most of the time she sleeps in Jamie’s room, on his air-mattress, although sometimes in his bed too. Jamie loves Julie, and it seems as if Julie is having sex with everyone but him. Jamie is dying to make love to this “20th Century Fox,” but she keeps saying no because she realizes that sex will ruin their friendship, which is far more important to her.
Jamie does something stupid which freaks Dorothea out, leading her to hypothesize that she, alone, is not enough and that Jamie’s lack of a father figure is screwing him up. Jamie doesn’t connect with William, so Dorothea gets the creative idea to have Abbie and Julie help guide him.
The main characters are well-developed, and there are many interesting and funny scenes. The movie is “under the radar” and probably won’t be in the theaters much longer, so if you’re interested, I’d try to see it soon!