Friday, July 8, 2011

Beginners (2010)

As of late, I am winning too, Charlie Sheen. On a winning spree of movies, that is.

BeginnersBeginners is a love story—part rom-com, part dram-com. Introspective Oliver (Ewan McGregor) falls in love with Anna (Mélanie Laurent) in the months following his father Hal’s (Christopher Plummer) death. Oliver absorbs himself in the memories of his father coming out after 45 years of marriage to Oliver’s wacky mother, Georgia (Mary Page Keller).

Shortly thereafter, Hal reveals another doozy as Oliver continues examining his own life and why all of his previous relationships have failed.

The movie has a winning personality—uncommonly witty yet humble. Extremely well cast. One reviewer stated that McGregor gets better with age; I couldn’t agree more. I’ve admired him since Shallow Grave and Trainspotting but haven’t felt bowled over by him again until now. He plays Oliver with genuine compassion and warmth as he supports Hal, even getting a kick out of his discoveries in his new lifestyle, such as house music and falling in love. There are no recriminations or angry declarations—this isn’t that kind of movie. Rounding out the stellar cast is Arthur (Cosmo), Hal’s charming long-haired Jack Russell terrier. Arthur holds his own opposite the speaking characters. He even gets subtitles. It’s brilliant.

Beginners is a semi-autobiographical, based on writer/director Mike Mills' experience with his own father coming out. Mills uses old photographs and random images to help visualize parts of the story. He also presents LA scenes. Instead of the usual frenzied and sprawling, you get a peek at the tranquil spots in its neighborhood landscapes.

This one is a gem that shouldn’t be missed.

Director: Mike Mills

Country: USA

Genre: Drama

Run time: 105 minutes

Scale: 4.5

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