Your mom's dead. I'm gay and have a young male lover. Oh, and I have cancer. Not exactly what you expect or want to hear from your 75-year-old father. Ewan McGregor stars as Oliver, a man who faces these scenarios and more in Beginners, an extremely good romantic drama that also stars Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent.
Following his mother's death, his father (Plummer) informs him that he's gay and for the first time wants to openly seek out a male partner. Sometime later he is diagnosed with cancer and eventually dies. Shortly after his father's death, he meets the temporarily speechless Anna (Laurent) and falls in love, though he still struggles with his loss and the challenges that come with a new relationship.
Written and directed by Mike Mills (Thumbsucker), Beginners is a superbly acted and crafted drama that, while sad and times, brings a smile to your face. The movie jumps between the past and present, allowing Mills to balance the story's somber moments with its uplifting ones. The result is an even-tempered film, well-paced and alluring.
Christopher Plummer turns in a terrific performance, but it's the chemistry between Ewan McGregor and Melanie Laurent that makes the film so good. The two are excellent, their wistful, amusing romance a splash of freshness that resonates throughout the film. The first night when the two meet is one of the most romantic sequences put to film, yet they hardly even kiss.
Beginners is a great movie, a surprising top ten-contender that's definitely worth seeing.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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