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Sunday, July 31, 2011

327. Beginners

    For the second movie in a row, expectations were high but not fulfilled.
    I wonder whether I am being a bit unfair on Mike Mills' Beginners because this was just the wrong time for Mrs W and I to be watching it.
    We have had too much grief in the last couple of months to find the last throes of an elderly relative entertaining.
    That's not to say I don't admire Mills enormously for is autobiographical story of a father who pronounced he was gay at the age of 75 not long before being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
    Thrusting his family history before the world on the big screen must have taken some guts.
    And I could not deny that 81-year-old Christopher Plummer is wonderful as joyous Hal, the man who proves  pensioners can go on a voyage of discovery.
    And, the sadness which overwhelms his son, played by Ewan McGregor, is very close to home for us and entirely realistic.
    McGregor plays Oliver who is destabilised by the grieving process.
    He meets a beautiful girl (Melanie Laurent) but his sadness, combined with his memories of his parents' difficult relationship, makes it difficult for him to commit.
    Sure, Plummer does put a great spirit into Beginners and there are attempts to make it light (a dog with a subtitled script, for example).
    But, having so recently faced the reality of death, it just made us more miserable.
    Mills has put together an attractive movie and there are some high-level performances (I didn't even recognise  Plummer's flamboyant gay boyfriend as Goran Visjnic (Dr Luca from ER).
    But the mixture of current plotline and flashbacks, becomes confusing at times and, after a while, McGregor's melancholy just becomes wearing.
    Thus, I'd give it 6/10 but have to be fair to Mills and his cast and apologise for it just catching us at and inopportune moment.

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327. Beginners

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