For his 2016 film 20th Century Women, director/writer Mike Mills took heavily from his own life in crafting the characters, particularly taking inspiration from his mother and sister to create the characters of Dorothea Fields (Played by Annette Bening) and Abbie Porter (Played by Greta Gerwig) while the character Jamie Fields (Played by Lucas Jade Zumann) was meant to reflect his own perspective. He was quoted saying the following:
"It felt like I was raised by my mom and sisters, so I was always appealing to women in the punk scene or women in my world. I always leaned to them to figure out my life as a straight white guy. So I wanted to make a movie about that.”
Drawing even further from his real life, the character of Julie Hamlin (Played by Elle Fanning) was based on the experiences of one of his friends. However, Mills has emphasized that, despite the film bordering on being autobiographical, the story is still very fictionalized:
"With all these characters, what guides me is the real person. Of course, I’m cinematizing real people, and you can never get them right or show all of their dimensions, but that’s very much what my mom was like."
It's advice as old as time for writers. "Write what you know" and as a result Mills created a visceral and believable story for people to connect to. His defense of the film's story? It was his life! Stay tuned!