The latest trailer for 20th Century Women, the new movie from Mike Mills about a single mom trying to raise her teenage son in Santa Barbara, California, circa 1979, is filled with profound observations and bold proclamations about life. It starts off with monologue from Annette Bening’s character Dorothea Fields, as she tells her son Jamie over archival footage, “When you were born, I told you life was very big and unknown. There were animals and cities and music. You’d fall in love, have passions, have meaning. But now it’s 1979 and nothing means anything and I know you less every day.” That pretty much sums up what this Oscar contender is about.
From there, we’re introduced to Greta Gerwig’s Abbie, a free-spirited punk who is boarding with the Fields and who teaches Jamie important lessons about existing in the world, and Elle Fanning’s Julie, the teenage neighbor who will be Jamie’s requisite first love. We see Dorothea essentially recruit both of them to help her raise her son. “I think you’re what’s going to work for him,” she tells them.
By the time the trailer ends, we hear Bening in yet another voice over, giving away what sounds like the film’s entire thesis. “I don’t know if we ever figure our lives out,” she says. “And the people who help you might not be who you thought, or wanted. They might just be the people who show up.”
20th Century Women hits theaters on Christmas Day.