Friday, June 24, 2011

Beginners (2011)

Mike Mills's Beginners deals with homosexuality. He offers a rather sharp character study, but his analysis is sometimes close from drowning into a sea of anecdotes.

The film takes place in 2003. Oliver (Ewan McGregor), a man in his forties, is shaken by two things his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer), tells him. Hal comes out of the closet and reveals that he has cancer. Oliver hardly understands it, because his father was once married to a woman.

Hal decides to see a young man named Andy (Goran Visnjic) and meet other gays. As he copes with the eventual death of his father, Oliver sees Anna (Mélanie Laurent), an eccentric French woman he met at a party. Unfortunately, while Hal is on cloud nine with Andy, Oliver doesn't know if he wants to be in a serious relation with Anna.

As Oliver compares his love relation with that of his father, we see Mills's droll analysis on how some people born in the 1960s might live their love relation today. Hal sets himself free by loving Andy. In fact, the 21rst century offers him the opportunity to display his homosexuality in public without fearing to be arrested by the police. Coming to the realization that he lives in an uninhibted society, Oliver, as a straight man, wonders if love is still relevant.

While there's nothing wrong with having a slow pace, Beginners becomes unfortunately dull at time. By attempting to depict the quotidian life of Oliver, Mills gives a touch of realism to Beginners. Unfortunately, we're sometimes bombarded with boring anecdotes about Oliver's life at work and with anyone who is neither Anna nor Hal.

Nevertheless, Beginners is a diamond in a rough. In fact, in order to appreciate it, one has to forget that Mike Mills could have trimmed his film for brevity's sake.

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin:USA (2011)
Length:105 minutes
Screenplay:Mike Mills
Director:Mike Mills
Starring:Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Mélanie Laurent

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