Lucas Jade Zumann and Elle Fanning costar in the Mike Mills film
ALL CROPS: Annette Bening in '20th Century Women' clip

Heartbreak makes for a great teacher in 20th Century Women, Mike Mills’ new dramedy starring Annette Bening as a devoted single mother raising a teenage son in Carter-era California.

In an exclusive clip from the film, Bening’s Dorothea Fields looks on knowingly as her boy, Jaime (played by newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann), shares a charged moment with his beguiling neighbor Julie (Elle Fanning).

When he catches his mom watching, Jaime implores her to stop “thinking that you know everything that’s going on.”

“I don’t,” she says innocently. “I just think that having your heart broken is a tremendous way to learn about the world.”

A moment later, over a sink full of dirty dishes, Jaime asks his mother if she thinks she’s happy — “like, as happy as you thought you’d be when you were my age.”

“You don’t ask people questions like that,” Dorothea says. “Especially your mom.” And she offers another pearl of wisdom: “Look, wondering if you’re happy is a great shortcut to just being depressed.”

Inspired by Mills’ relationship with his own mother and described as “an ode to the women who raised me,” 20th Century Women also stars Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup. The film opens Dec. 25.

Watch the exclusive clip above.

20th Century Women
  • Movie
  • 118 minutes