Written and Directed by: Mike Mills
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mealnie Laurent
Beginners is a tale about personal relationships and new beginnings. The narrative is seen and told through the eyes of Oliver Fields (McGregor.) The storyline jumps time back and forth between the present (actually 2003) and Oliver's childhood. Oliver's mother and father were married for 38 years; they were both very unhappy in their marriage. When Oliver's mother passes away, his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer) comes out of the closet and lives the rest of life the way he always wanted to...as an openly gay man. Hal then passes away and Oliver is left to deal with taking care of all of his father's affairs and adopts his father's dog, a Jack Russel named Arthur. The dog's thoughts are shown on screen through subtitles. The dog seems to be tho only one in the film who is holding it together, actually. Oliver is a lonely soul who is afraid to trust anyone, for what I am guessing is a fear of abandonment. He does finally meet and begins a relationship with a French Actress named Anna (Melanie Laurent.)
This film deals with human emotions and relationships, but the narrative is excruciatingly slow. The character of Oliver's mother could have been expanded on more; why did she stay in an unhappy marriage, knowing her husband was a homosexual? Why did Hal stay in the marriage knowing the same thing? Oliver's parents stayed together well into his adulthood, so staying married for the sake for their son was out a possible reason. However, I did like this film because it deals with real life issues, and it lets us know that it is never too late for a new beginning in life. I also like the narration through Oliver when describing different time periods in his and his parent's lives. I enjoyed seeing how the characters of Hal and Oliver evolved as the openly gay father and his son form a bond that they never had before. McGregor and Plummer gave good performances, but in my opinion, McGregor was the stronger of the two. However, Oscar buzz is swarming all around Plummer on this one. My guess is he is going to bring home the statue.