Beginners (2010)

MIKE MILLS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

USA, 2010.     Olympus Pictures, Parts and Labor, Northwood Productions.  Screenplay by Mike Mills.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , , , .  Music by , , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 2010.  Golden Globe Awards 2010.  Gotham Awards 2011.  Independent Spirit Awards 2011.  National Board of Review Awards 2011.  New York Film Critics Awards 2011.  Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2011.   Toronto International Film Festival 2010.  Washington Film Critics Awards 2011.  

 finds himself emotionally isolated following the death of his beloved father (Christopher Plummer), who himself reacted to the death of his wife five years earlier by telling his son that he was gay and that he could no longer keep it to himself. In the present, McGregor meets and falls in love with a hopelessly charming actress () who struggles to get past his emotional unavailability, while in memory sequences our protagonist remembers his father’s becoming active in the gay community, raising his political awareness and the social life that he acquired in his late seventies. There’s incredibly heartfelt sentiment laid over the past sequences and a romantic, stardust quality placed on the present in this beautiful film.  It’s not easy to pull off a haunted comedy, but writer/director Mike Mills has accomplished it and admirably, coaxing exquisite performances out of his actors and never allowing the endless moments of subtle wonder to feel quirky or contrived.

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