Valentine’s Marathon:Beginners (2010)

I think I had bought this movie based a review I read some time early last year and being intrigued by Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer.  I had no idea of what the plot was, and didn’t even watch the trailer, so after owning this for multiple months, my random draw had this in the rundown and leading me to finally see this…

BeginnersDirector: Mike Mills

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent

When Oliver’s  mother passes away 5 years ago, his father Hal tells him that he is gay and decides to come out of the closet and live and love to the fullest.  A few years later, Hal is diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.  Oliver shares his last moments with his dad and understands and share more moments than any time before.  The story starts with Hal having passed away for a few months, Oliver has now sorted through everything and at a party, he unexpected meets a charming young woman called Anna (Melanie Laurent), an actress who moves around often.  They share a very strong connection and from there, start seeing each other.  As their relationship develops, it brings back his memories of his father in the last few years and also the memories of his childhood and his mother.  Anna also has a deep dark past which hinders her from truly connecting with anyone. Together, they learn that they are both beginners in the universe of love and that sometimes, it just takes courage and that sometimes you just need to be brave enough to love someone and make it work.

I’m going straight out to say that this movie is in the lines of dark and bittersweet love story.  This movie is classified as a romance/drama/comedy. Let me tell you, our comedy is with Christopher Plummer.  I’m a huge fan of Christopher Plummer. I mean, I’m a huge fan of The Sound of Music (haha).  I know I know, its not the same thing.  He was fantastic in his role as a father coming clean to his son and really diving into the whole dying gay man role.  His role really touched me and I’m sure it did to many others because he won the Oscar last year for best actor in a supporting role.

beginners oliver and hal

Its not just Christopher Plummer that was great.  Ewan McGregor also did a fantastic job being confused and lost in knowing and believing that love works out.  He did a great job at portraying happiness but just not having the courage to stay around to see things work out.  Or maybe just good at showing how Oliver is a beginner.  However, at the same time, the emotions and chemistry he had with Anna was incredibly authentic.  On to the actress who played Anna,  Melanie Laurent.  I’ve never seen her before in any other movies.  She was amazing.  That’s all I can say. She’s a charming actress and she brought  a lot of fun moments but at other times, she was convincing as to how deep her thoughts were. The praise goes not only to the these two talented actor and actress but also to the writer for making these interesting roles to play.

beginners oliver anna

 

If we step back and look at this whole movie, the setup of the movie is interesting and witty. Oliver is a graphic designer so a part of the movie is how his thoughts unravel as he connects events together with the people involved.  Pictures and slideshows that fill his mind as his memories come back and as his relationship moves forward.  I think the word to describe this movie would be imaginative, creative, fun and touching.

Its a different approach from what I had expected from this movie.  I had no idea what I was getting into and I did think it’d be a lot more funny than it really was. I’m not saying that as a bad thing, its just that I hadn’t thought it was a drama until it got into the deeper darker worlds of everyone learning how to love and being brave enough to hold on and see how things go.  Some part of the movie I have to admit that I can relate to which makes it just that much more dramatic.

Definitely a good movie and I’m for sure going to watch it again.  A second viewing would probably get a few more messages clearer because it does go into the deeper side of love.  However, whats refreshing is that its not simply a love story but rather a love story that is hindered but also encouraged by the main character Oliver’s past. Remember going into this movie that it is a drama above all, so its not completely light.  It’ll give you at least some levels of thinking as it aims to touch your heart. It connected with me because my past has affected the mindset of my past relationships, but even if you can’t connect to that, you will probably connect to how its never too late to love and/or learn to love.

I hadn’t even realized it had won an Oscar until I was researching the movie and the actors for this review.   Have you seen this? What did you think? What are some films you enjoyed of Christopher Plummer or Ewan McGregor?