>> Beginners (2011)

Title: Beginners

Genre: Drama

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic

Director: Mike Mills

Studio: Focus Features

Runtime: 105 minutes

In Theatres: June 17, 2011

MPAA Rating: R

Rating: 3.79 (out of 4.00)

Grade: B+

Official Site

Is it ever too late in your life to make a change, however significant or insignificant it may be? If you’re Hal (Christopher Plummer), then the answer is no. At the age of 75, Hal came out of the closet and revealed that he was gay when his wife passed away after 44 years of marriage. In addition, he’s gravely ill. His son, Oliver (Ewan McGreggor), is struggling to deal with these two bombs that have just been dropped on him as well as a new relationship he has just entered with Anna (Mélanie Laurent). While it may seem like the end to Oliver, it’s only the beginning…

Beginners is filled with emotions. There’s the sadness that Oliver’s father is slowly dying, but there’s also the happiness to his newly found freedom. In a way, it’s contradicting. There are times where you don’t know how you should feel. I imagine it’s exactly what Oliver is going through. It’s confusing, but in a good way as difficult as that may sound.

The one thing that stands out the most with the film is the acting. McGreggor, Plummer, and Laurent are the three main actors on screen and they perform wonderfully. Not only does the relationship between each of them feel real but their mannerisms stick out the most. Oliver and Anna meet under the most random conditions in which she can’t speak. It’s one of the more interesting scenes in the film and shows the raw talent these actors have.

As a result, some people may think the film looks dull and bland. There are no special effects or anything else of that nature. What you see on screen is what you get. There could have been a little more color and it does get boring in a few parts, but give Beginners a chance and I think you'll be plesantly surprised.

Another star of the film is Arthur, the four legged best friend of Oliver. Director Mike Mills decided to give Arthur a voice using subtitles, providing an insight into the mind of the dog. Sometimes it’s inspirational but most of the time it’s exactly what you would expect a dog to be thinking. Arthur is a hilarious break from the heavy emotions of the film.

Overall, Beginners is something to think about. It’s much more than action sequences filled with explosions and gunfire. It’s a heartfelt film that’ll make you think it’s never too late to do anything.

You've read the review, now check out Shakefire's interview with director Mike Mills!

Follow me on Twitter @Majiesto


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