Beginners. Let’s begin.
Equipped with a surprisingly decent American accent, Ewan McGregor is hip creative Oliver Fields who, through some episodical flashbacks, recounts the story of his father’s final year, a struggle with cancer, and his belated step out of the closet.
Without raining on the pride parade, although Plummer puts in a stellar performance as the reinvigorated Hal, you can’t help but feel that all the award attention for this supporting role is more an amalgamation of his overlooked sixty year career rather than on the merit of this one film. It’s still a pleasure to watch him and long may him prosper as one of Hollywood’s leading older dudes.
Not content on this coming(out)-of-age tale, filmmaker Mike Mills presents a more conventional love story between Oliver and lazy French actress Anna, played by the not so work-shy French actress Melanie Laurent. Although it’s told with a palatable amount mawkishness, there’s nothing new in their formulaic, to-and-fro relationship. Taking up a increasing amount of screen time as the film hits halfway, you can’t help but wait anxiously for Plummer to step out and steal the scene.
Yes, Beginners is a schmaltzy, kook-fest but, when done right, that’s never a bad thing. A full bodied indie flick with very little jokes, but a heavy heart.