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‘Beginners’ Review

In Movies on July 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm

by:  Larisa Brusky

Some might call it a love story. Some might brush it off as a movie about people who have no idea what they’re doing. Whatever you decide to call it, Beginners is a story about living; about growing up, facing changes, and learning how to be happy with who you are.

The story is inspired by the director’s, Mike Mills, own family history. It stars Ewan McGregor as Oliver, a man who has just found out that his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer) is gay and has terminal cancer. The film is told through Oliver’s eyes and goes back and forth between three timelines; his childhood, taking care of his father during his illness and when he met his girlfriend Anna (Melanie Laurent). The transition between each stage in Oliver’s life is done gracefully. Each story is woven together to help the audience discover who Oliver is and why he is that way.

The acting presented is nothing short of wonderful – McGregor and Plummer as a father and son duo are compelling and heart-warming and the chemistry between McGregor and Laurent is what a relationship should be like – a mixture of hope and doubt wrapped up in a little fun.

The real beauty of this movie, however, is that it never tries to hard to be something that it is not. Beginners isn’t a full-fledged comedy, but it’s not a tragedy either. It is like life; a combination of good times and bad times, laughter and sadness. The supporting actors also keep the atmosphere of the movie where it should be, cluing you in to what is really going on. Nothing is ever taken too seriously and each characters life is thought of in ways that I might associate with my life. It is full of the, as much as I hate to use this word, ‘quirkiness’ that you would predict from an indie film, but it’s never pretentious. It just is what it is. And as an audience member, I enjoyed that. I could form my own opinions because I wasn’t being told how I should think about story-line or the characters.

Would I recommend Beginners? Definitely. If you’re looking for something that is a tear-jerker through and through or is full of belly laughs, this isn’t for you. But if you enjoy watching a movie about the bittersweet happiness of life, about the process changing how you see yourself and the relationships people have with each other, then do not look any further. This movie will leave you walking away with a smile on your face and just maybe, a new outlook on life.

Rating:  3.5 out of 4 stars

Trailer for the movie: 

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