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Beginners

3.8 out of 5 stars 170 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor (Star Wars I, II, III), Academy Award nominee Christopher Plummer (Inside Man), and Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) star in Beginners, an uplifting comedy about how funny and transformative life can be. When graphic designer Oliver (McGregor) meets free-spirited Anna (Laurent) shortly after his father (Plummer) has passed away, Oliver realizes just how much of a beginner he is when it comes to long-lasting romantic love. Memories of his father, who, following the death of his wife of 45 years, came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized, and wonderfully tumultuous gay life, encourage Oliver to open himself up to the potential of a true relationship. Inspired by writer/director Mike Mills’ own father, it’s an original love story that critics cheer is “smart, poignant and often hilarious!” (Karen Durbin, Elle)

Amazon.com

The impact of parents on their children has rarely been captured with the wit and compassion of Beginners, a sweet comedy about love and fear. Ewan McGregor, perhaps the most charming actor alive, plays a graphic artist named Oliver, whose elderly father Hal (played with a deft mix of twinkle and gravitas by Christopher Plummer) comes out as gay after Oliver's mother dies. Alas, Hal also discovers he has terminal cancer--but he crams as much life into the time left to him as he can. Beginners skips back and forth between Oliver's last months with his father and his first months with a young actress, Anna (Mélanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds), towards whom he feels a mesmerizing attraction… and with whom he shares a paralyzing fear of intimacy. All of which sounds ponderous and drab, but Beginners is the exact opposite. Writer-director Mike Mills brings a wonderfully light and wistfully humorous touch to these heavy topics, as well as an eye for engaging visuals. Mills and his outstanding cast delicately weave the different threads of Oliver's life into a delicate but emotionally potent whole. Mills's previous film, Thumbsucker, showed promise; Beginners fulfills it. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • A Short Film About Making Beginners
  • Beginners Promo
  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Mike Mills

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer
    • Directors: Mike Mills
    • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    • Dubbed: Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      R
      Restricted
    • Studio: Universal
    • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2011
    • Run Time: 104 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B004A8ZWV0
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,696 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Beginners" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 4, 2011
    Format: DVD
    There's an emotional acuity to this bittersweet 2011 dramedy that makes the loose structure of the first-person narrative easier to take than one would expect. Director/screenwriter Mike Mills bases his movie on a series of events that occurred in his own life. Just months after Mills' own mother passed away, his 75-year-old father announced that despite their 44-year marriage he was gay and intended to spend his remaining days exploring the hidden side of his libido. Cancer cut short those plans but not the life affirming spirit with which he explored his new lifestyle. It certainly helps that Mills cast 81-year-old Christopher Plummer as the father since his naturally erudite manner complements his character Hal's innately fey quality in a way that makes his late-blooming emotional emancipation all the sweeter. It's a lovely performance well worth remembering during next year's award season.

    The protagonist of the story is Oliver, a sensitive cartoonist who is nearing forty and finding himself unable to sustain a lasting relationship. Family dysfunction has taken its toll on Oliver given that he discovers six months after his mother Georgia's death that Hal was in the closet most of Oliver's life, thus explaining why his parents never appeared to connect emotionally. Oliver is obviously concerned a similar fate of repressed feelings will befall him as he rummages through Hal's things after his death. Flashbacks show a childhood dominated by Georgia's eccentric manner with Hal relegated to the shadows of doorways always on his way to another business trip. Meanwhile, closer to the present, Oliver meets a free-spirited French actress named Anna, whose flirtatious manner gives way to her own vulnerability since she has her own family-related challenges in developing romantic connections.
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    3 Comments 76 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    I went with eagerness to this film. I tend to see many gay-themed movies. This one moved me enormously, and it wasn't the gay character, Christopher Plummer, who most affected me, although he was very, very good. What hit me hard about the movie was Ewan McGregor's deeply sensitive portrayal of a lonely man. This movie is not about how a straight son comes to grips with his gay father who comes out very late in life. It's about a man approaching middle age (McGregor) who realizes he has never really loved. I am rarely (and I mean rarely) been moved to tears in a movie. This was an exception.
    2 Comments 69 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    When do we stop being our true self-- and why? And when, and why, after so many years, do we begin to be our true self again? These questions are asked and answered in Mike Mills' autobiographical film "Beginners."
    Oliver Fields (Ewan McGregor;, playing a film variation of Mills himself) is a graphic designer who can't seem to communicate his feelings or maintain a long-term emotional relationship. Oliver, though not verbally expressive or emotionally demonstrative, does express his emotions through graphic design and illustration. The movie flashes back into the past and flashes forward again into the present or more recent past. As we see Oliver's relationship with his parents, we see how he became so emotionally conditioned. His parents endured a distant 45 year marriage, in an environment where emotions and secrets were never revealed. After his mother's (Mary Page Keller) death, his 75 year old father Hal (Christopher Plummer; "Hamlet," "The Sound Of Music", "Inside Man") finally comes out of the closet as a gay man. "And I don't want to be just theoretically gay," he says, "I want to do something about it." And, in the final years of his life, Hal embraces his life with gusto and passion ; becoming an active member of the gay community and having a loving relationship with a much younger man (Goran Visnjig). In the last years of his life, Hal finally begins to be his true self, and Oliver finally begins to know and love the father that he never knew before. In the end, Hal refuses to acknowledge the cancer that will end the life he has just begun to live.
    In the present day, inspired by his father's example, Oliver decides to embark upon a relationship with the beguiling and seemingly free-spirited Anna (Melanie Laurent).
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    2 Comments 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    I want everyone to go out and watch this movie now. Honestly, this film is so powerful and moving and certainly far removed from anything I was expecting that mere words cannot convey how much I truly do adore this film. From a purely emotional standpoint, it may be the finest film I've seen this year for it brought me to a place I haven't been in a long time; completely swelled within my own realities captured by someone and something else entirely.

    `Beginners' is beautiful.

    `Beginners' tells the story of Oliver. Oliver is not a very lucky lover. He hasn't had a stable relationship and quite frankly, he seems allergic to them. His father has recently died, and he lives in a world consumed in beginning to understand who his father really was. Shortly after his mother's passing, Oliver's father Hal came out of the closet. Hal has been gay his whole life and yet he loved his wife and she wanted to `fix him', convinced that her love could do the trick. He lived a heterosexual life with her, but now that she was gone he wanted to explore the life he kept locked away for so long. This obviously took Oliver by surprise, but watching his father's eyes brighten and his soul open up he became to understand a sense of happiness he had never seen in his years growing up. After losing his father, Oliver has a chance meeting with the beautiful Anna. While he at first seems resistant, her charm and allure is too much for him, and soon Oliver finds himself experiencing something he didn't understand, but through memories of his father's growing spirit, Oliver is able to accept the gift he has been given.

    I'm just floored at the sincerity in this film's screenplay, for the way it fleshes out these characters is just amazing.
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