Thursday, March 31, 2016


     Beginners is a movie that hides comedy in a multi-layered drama. Starring Ewan McGregor as Oliver, the film begins with a voice over about Oliver's father Hal. The monologue mentions the death of Oliver's mother and the announcement that Hal is gay. Also Hal has cancer.

    Hal is portrayed by Christopher Plummer, a role he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The movie talks deeply about the relationship between an adult man and his father and paints a realistic picture of both men who struggle with Hal's identity. This is not what the movie is about. The movie is about Oliver and Anna.

     The movie mostly focuses on Oliver's resurgence into the world via dating Anna. They meet at a costume party Oliver is reluctant to attend until he meets Anna. Their relationship grows organically from the moment she asks him:

     Oliver is an artist and Anna is an actor and their creative sadness drives them together. It is moments like these, that romanticize creative depression that are turn offs to me. However, these moments come few and far between. This is a movie that is full of hope, showcased by its eccentric directing style. This film brought Mike Mills into the spotlight. The story relies heavily on narration and fun elements, such as Baxter the dog.

Mills uses elements like Baxter, or a repeating shot of Christopher Plummer in different outfits. To weave the nonlinear storylines of Oliver and Hal, and Hal's new lover, and the story of Oliver and Anna. This postmodernist technique create a full character that is only full realized through past experiences. 

     Beginners is a drama with a lot of comedy elements. Baxter the dog being subtitled is funny in its surprise and uniqueness. But it is the dark sense of emotion that comes with complex characters that really makes this film work. Despite the cheesy artist language.


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