Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Beginners (2010)

Beginners is a 2010 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Mike Mills. It tells the story of Oliver (Ewan McGregor), a man reflecting on the life and death of his father while trying to forge a new romantic relationship with a woman dealing with father issues of her own.

Beginners premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, where the Los Angeles Times heralded it as a "heady, heartfelt film" with a cast who has "a strong sense of responsibility to their real-world counterparts".

The Plot

The film is structured as a series of interconnected flashbacks. Following the death of his father Hal, Oliver reflects on his relationship with him following the death of Oliver's mother Georgia. Shortly after her death Hal came out as gay to his son and began exploring that aspect of his life. Hal finds a boyfriend, Andy, and surrounds himself with a circle of gay friends. Hal is then diagnosed with terminal cancer. Following an extended illness during which Oliver helps care for him, Hal dies.

Several months after Hal's death, Oliver meets Anna, a French actress, at a party and they begin a relationship. Oliver's unresolved emotions around his father's death and his parents' life together, along with Anna's conflicted feelings about her emotionally unstable father, initially interfere with their relationship but they resolve to stay together.


The film has received positive reviews upon release. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, Beginners received an average score of 81, based on 36 reviews, which indicates "universal acclaim reviews". Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, saying "It's a hopeful fable with deep optimism and a cheerful style that kids itself." Allrovi (All Media Guide) called it "a life-affirming drama" and gave the film four-and-a-half stars out of five.

The Cast

Ewan McGregor as Oliver Fields
 Christopher Plummer as Hal Fields
 Mélanie Laurent as Anna
 Goran Visnjic as Andy
 Kai Lennox as Elliot
 Mary Page Keller as Georgia
 Keegan Boos as Young Oliver Fields
 China Shavers as Shauna
 Melissa Tang as Liz
 Amanda Payton as Party Person

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