A small, finely crafted family portrait that gives its actors every chance to shine. Related in tone and ambience to the vastly inferior Somewhere and with some touches of Miranda July’s recent The Future (here it’s not a talking cat but a subtitled dog), Beginners unfortunately has Goran Visnjic popping into view every once in a while with a portrayal of the much younger gay lover of an old man that’s dangerously bordering on the denunciative.
This aside, Beginners is a highly intelligent and heartfelt portrait of a 30-something designer (McGregor) who can’t figure out how to be an adult after losing his father (Plummer) and possibly meeting the love of his life (Laurent).
Director and scriptwriter Mills shows the same kind of emotional maturity and intellectual insight, as well as impeccable sense of rhythm in his storytelling, that made his first feature Thumbsucker so entertaining and moving, showing lives that are individual and unique and at the same time indivisibly connected to a certain time and place in history.
BEGINNERS | Directed by Mike Mills (USA 2010) with Mike Mills, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent. Opens June 3