Directed by Mike Mills and starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent; Beginners is a touching look at relationships.
McGregor plays Oliver, an artist, who is just coming to terms with his father’s recent death. He learns to cope with his grief by forming a bond with Arthur, his father’s Jack Russell. He also meets and falls in love with Anna (Laurent).
Throughout this time we also learn of the events of the months leading up to Oliver’s father Hal’s death, who after 44 years of marriage had finally announced his homosexuality. We see Hal embracing the life he has always secretly wanted to live and forming new relationships before he is diagnosed with cancer.
Beginners contains moments both heart-warming and heart-breaking, notably a scene where Oliver, dressed as Sigmund Freud at a fancy-dress party, attempts to analyse Anna as she lies on a sofa; and another of Hal sitting alone in a bar, attempting to find companionship.
Quick editing of images from the past, along with voiceovers from Oliver, offers a glimpse of nostalgia, a recurring theme throughout the film.
Along with great performances by all (despite not having too taxing a role Laurent displays great screen presence) Beginners is a sweet and poignant film which examines life, love and loss.