Annette Bening stars as a '70s single mom in Mike Mills' new comedy
Credit: Merrick Morton

The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced that Mike Mills’ upcoming comedy, the Annette Bening-starring 20th Century Women, will make its world premiere as the 54th New York Film Festival’s centerpiece.

Mills (Beginners) wrote and directed the Santa Barbara-set comedy, which stars Bening as a single mother with a teenage son (played by newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann). Together, they live in a bohemian household in 1979 with a revolving cast of characters, including a carpenter (Billy Crudup) and a punk artist (Greta Gerwig), with frequent visits from her son’s rebellious friend (Elle Fanning).

“I was taken aback by 20th Century Women,” NYFF director and selection committee chair Kent Jones said in a statement. “It’s made with an extraordinarily unusual level of craft and attention to detail, human and visual, which is now all but extinct. As someone who actually lived through 1979 in middle-class America, I will testify to the fact that Mike Mills and his remarkable cast approach the level of the uncanny. I felt like I was back there, with all the shared behaviors and worries, the divisions, the look and feel and smell of the world as it was.”

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Previously, the Film Society announced that Ava DuVernay’s surprise documentary, The 13th, will open the festival on Sept. 30, becoming the first documentary to do so.

The New York Film Festival’s centerpiece selection often sparks awards buzz, and last year, the Michael Fassbender-starring biopic Steve Jobs made its premiere as the festival’s centerpiece.

The NYFF runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 16 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. After 20th Century Women premieres at the NYFF, A24 will release it in theaters in December.

20th Century Women
  • Movie
  • 118 minutes