* * * *
(Quirky character study)

Annette Benning, sporting the worst hairdo in the history of film acting, plays 50-something Dorothea, a single mom who reacts to everyone around her like she is a stranger in a strange land. Poor Dorothea is trying to raise Jamie, her teenage son (Lucas Jade Zumann) while managing to say and do all the wrong things. She also plays surrogate mother to a quirky young female photographer (Greta Gerwig) and handsome handyman (Billy Crudup), who is restoring her vintage home.
And then there is Julie (Elle Fanning), Jamie’s best friend. She fools around with all the other boys but keeps her relationship with Jamie on a sexless level, driving the poor kid crazy, especially when she wants to sneak in his window and sleep in his bed.
Dorothea enlists the two girls in helping her do a better job in raising Jamie, only to confuse the kid even more. The movie is little more than two hours of episodes that ingeniously come together. Talk about a dysfunctional non-family trying to make meaning out of their lives! All this happens in Santa Barbara in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Amazingly, in two hours we get to know and care for every one of these quirky characters, even though they do and say crazy things. It may be categorized as a “coming of age” movie, but it is really Dorothea who comes of age.
Rated R because of some hysterically funny sexual discussions, a bit of nudity and profanity.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment