Beginners

6 Jan

Director: Mike Mills

Writer: Mike Mills

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Mélanie Laurent

Motion Picture Rating: R

Runtime: 105 minutes

 

 

The tagline for this film is ‘this is what love feels like’ and it is that mysterious and sometimes paralysing feeling that dominates this funny romantic drama. It is about settling down for the sake of it, how opposites attract, but then have to compromise, and it’s about why some people subconsciously look for reasons to break relationships and remain alone. The strongest single theme is the different perspectives that each generation takes on making the big commitment.

Beginners is the second feature film of writer / director Mike Mills after 2005’s Thumbsucker. Both films are small and character driven with nice indie sensibilities and strong casts. This one is particularly warm and easy going. At its heart is Ewan McGregor as Oliver who embarks on a new relationship with Anna (Melanie Laurent) whilst reminiscing about his recently deceased father Hal (played wonderfully by Christopher Plummer).

The ‘edge’ to the film and to Oliver’s outlook on love is the result of his dad Hal coming out as gay in his mid seventies and after his wife’s death. Hal’s late in life exploration of the gay scene provides some funny moments, but more importantly leads his son to question his parents’ marriage and his own chances of meeting the ‘right’ woman. The movie in essence splits into one part where Oliver thinks back to his dad’s delayed freedom and happiness and another part where he meets Anna and starts to fall in love with her.

This is a good film with more than a few poignant moments. The themes are well worn, but the story is fresh and well acted. I liked it a lot and it has a particularly nice meet cute between McGregor and the beautiful Laurent at a party.

One Response to “Beginners”

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  1. Review: Beginners « M-E D I A - January 23, 2012

    […] Beginners (smallscreenreviews.com) […]

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