‘Beginners’ Short Take

beginners

Told via flashbacks, this poignant and whimsical little comedy/drama about loss, acceptance, and the bonds between fathers and sons, is about two men – Oliver (Ewan McGregor), a lonely and emotionally distant graphic designer, and his father Hal (Chrstopher Plummer), a man who comes out of the closet after the death of his wife at the grand old age of 75. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, the older man resolves to bond with his withdrawn son, while also building a large circle of gay friends. Oliver too, is undergoing a fresh start by beginning a relationship with a withdrawn French actress (Melanie Laurant), someone who also shares a prickly relationship with her absent father. Though the material meanders in downer territory, writer-director Mike Mills unexpectedly funny semi-autobiographical tale is pepped thanks to his usage of quirky film devices like animation, subtitles, cute talking animals and the remarkable performances of the perpetually underrated McGregor and the brilliant work of the legendary Plummer, who in a just world, will duly receive an Oscar nomination for his terrific work.  Beginners is a simultaneously funny and sad portrait of how we should never give up hope and what it is to start over in life. Terrific stuff!

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