Saturday, September 03, 2011


Today I saw Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer.

Oliver (McGregor) is pushing 40 when his father, Hal (Plummer), tells him that he's gay, and he's known he was gay since he was 13 despite his marriage to Oliver's mother, which lasted until her passing.

Instead of freaking out or distancing himself from his dad, Oliver embraces this new knowledge and accepts his father's new lifestyle, along with his much younger boyfriend.

Unfortunately, he also has to deal with the news that his father is ill—so the limited time they have together makes his questions rise to the surface probably faster than they would have otherwise.

Depressing? Uh-huh. Stories about loss usually are sad, and this one definitely qualifies despite its attempts at momentary lapses of light.

The film jumps around between present day, flashbacks, voiceover and dog subtitles. Yes, dog subtitles. And instead of finding the high maintenance Jack Russell "Arthur" adorable (like many surely did), I found him to be terribly annoying.

The quirky bits don't really have a place in this melancholy drama, which at the heart of the script is really only about loss. Loss of family, loss of love, loss of innocence.

And despite the actors' phenomenal performances, the slow pace and the tragic topics at every turn made this film a somewhat unpleasant experience to witness.

Just one of the story arcs would've been enough to keep me interested, and I wish the writer (who based this on his own life experience) had chosen to approach it that way instead.


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