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20th Century Women | 2016 | R | - 6.3.5

Set in the late 1970s in Santa Barbara, California, the single mother (Annette Bening) of a teenage boy struggles with how to raise him to be a good man while also trying to deal with her relationships. Also with Elle Fanning, Alia Shawkat, Laura Wiggins, Billy Crudup and Greta Gerwig. Directed by Mike Mills. [1:58]

SEX/NUDITY 6 - A teen boy and a teen girl are seen in a car and we hear moaning as the boy climaxes; the girl quizzes the boy about having ejaculated (we see the boy shirtless and the girl is wearing a bra that reveals cleavage and her upper chest). A woman takes off her top and we see her bare back, panties and the side of her bare breast as she climbs into bed with a man; they kiss and sex is implied. A young woman straddles a young man lying on the floor and they kiss (sex is implied). A man and a young woman kiss in bed and we hear moaning (sex is implied).
 A topless woman lies in a bed (bare breasts and abdomen are shown). A woman finds a pornographic magazine in her teen son's room and we see a spread with a man and woman posed to look like they are having sex (we see their bare buttocks, back, legs and the side of the woman's breast). A teenage girl wears a low-cut blouse that reveals cleavage. A teen girl is shown wearing a bra and panties while sitting in a bed (we see bare upper chest, cleavage, abdomen and legs). People are shown in swimwear in the background of a scene. A teen girl urinates and we see her thighs and her panties. A few men are shown bare-chested in a photograph.
 A young woman goes into a man's room and talks about a project that she is working on, then asks if he wants to fool around and they kiss (we see his bare chest, abdomen and back) and she tells him that she is recovering from cervical cancer. A teen boy and a teen girl lie in bed together (clothed) and he touches her bare thigh; she moves his hand away and rests her head on his chest while saying, "We can't have sex and stay friends." A man kisses a woman and she asks, "What does that mean?"
 A man asks a woman to dance and they dance slowly and close together. A teen boy buys a home pregnancy test at a pharmacy and the pharmacist looks at him with alarm.
 A teen girl talks about losing her virginity at 14 and that they used spit for lubrication. A young woman is reprimanded when she says that she is menstruating at a dinner table and there is an extended conversation about menstruation including a man's remark that sex during menstruation can be enjoyable for the woman. A teen girl tells a teen boy that another teen boy ejaculated inside her and she is worried; they do a home pregnancy test and it turns out to be negative. A young woman tells a teen boy that she fell in love with her teacher. We hear that many daughters of women who took DES (a fertility drug) develop cervical cancer. A man asks a woman out for a drink and when she accepts he says, "Some of the guys think you are a lesbian." A teen girl talks to a woman about relationships and men. When confronted by a woman as a teen girl sneaks out of the house, the teen says (referring to her relationship with the woman's son), "We don't have sex, we just sleep." There are several frank discussions about female sexuality, orgasms, and female genitalia. Two teenage boys talk about sex and one brags about his performance (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A teen girl says that she does not have orgasms. A teen girl says there is more to sex than orgasm and that she regrets having sex half the time.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - Teenage boys hyperventilate and then someone presses on their diaphragm causing them to pass out momentarily; one boy does this and does not revive until he is in the hospital (he is OK Later). A young woman is struck in the face and she spits on the attacker (we see the young woman with a bloody lip). Two teen boys discuss sex and one brags about his performance; when the other challenges him they get in a fight and one is punched in the stomach and face a few times. A teen boy leaves home and goes to another city with several friends in a car.
 A car in the parking lot of a grocery store is shown engulfed in flames as the owner of the car looks on in shock. A woman is pulled over by a police officer and she is confrontational about not having her license; we see her in the police station later. A teen boy rides a skateboard while holding onto a moving car (no injuries occur). We see President Gerald Ford stumble and fall down the steps of an airplane.
 A man does demolition in an old building and pulls down part of a ceiling. We see an image of a mushroom cloud.
 A woman yells at her teenage son about doing something dangerous. A teen boy asks his mother, "Why do you smoke yourself to death?" We see a news reel of war and soldiers marching while we hear that a woman went to flight school. A voice over explains that a woman was 40 when she had a child and that she was, "Too old to have a baby." A young woman talks to a teenage boy about chemotherapy and a hysterectomy. A young woman is told that a biopsy was benign and that she might not be able to carry a pregnancy to term. A woman says, "I will die of cancer." A young man is shown asleep on a sofa and scribbled with words like, "Kick me."
 A teen girl urinates and we hear the trickle. A young woman spits on another young woman (we see goo). We see a dead bird lying on the bottom of a cage and hear that its partner died a few days later; a young woman buries them in a garden.


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LANGUAGE 5 - About 5 F-words, 12 sexual references, 4 scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 1 mild obscenity, 7 derogatory terms for homosexuals (one is painted on the side of a car and we see it several more times), name-calling (dumb, stupid, gross, crazy, cocky, uptight, obsessive ), 2 religious exclamations (Oh God, Jesus).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A teen girl smokes what looks like a marijuana cigarette, a teenage boy and a teenage girl smoke marijuana in a bong, and a young woman talks about her mother having taken a fertility drug while pregnant with her (DES). Teenage boys and girls are seen drinking from bottles of beer in an empty swimming pool and they act inebriated, people drink and dance wildly at a concert (some are underage), a man and a woman drink wine, men and women are shown drinking alcohol in a bar scene, men and women drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes, at a dinner, a remark is made about driving drunk, and men and women drink beer at a bar. A teenage girl smokes a cigarette while riding a bicycle, a teen boy and a teen girl smoke in the woods and the boy says it's gross, a woman smokes cigarettes in most scenes throughout the movie (including in bed, in an office, in her kitchen), and a man smokes a cigarette in an office break room.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Marriage, divorce, single parenting, aging, smoking, cancer, heartbreak, happiness, depression, passion, Vietnam, President Ford, President Nixon, guilt, being a good man, feminism, disrespect for government, crisis of confidence, self-indulgence, consumption, the Depression, self-destructive behavior, home birth, Y2K, commune living, compartmentalizing, cerebral palsy, love, Planned Parenthood, fertility drugs and cervical cancer.

MESSAGE - Parenting a teenager is challenging.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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