Beginners is quietly, elegantly moving

Smack in the middle of the Summer movie onslaught of pyrotechnics, superheroes, and dancing penguins comes a thought-provoking, quirky movie for grownups. 


Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, and Melanie Laurent, is a well-drawn slice of life with absolutely no explosions.  The film shows that when the rug is pulled out from under your expectations, healing can happen.  McGregor's character (Oliver) has a dry, real sense of humor that quietly powers the entire movie.  He's dealing with the revelation that his father has terminal cancer and, oh by the way, has also been gay for his entire 40+ year marriage.  The relationships in the movie include those weird, insider-y moments that complete the picture; Oliver's mother (now deceased) had a reckless and hilarious way of dealing with her son.  She is still present in his quest for a girlfriend who can live up to her style and verve.


Ultimately, the movie allows us to look closely at human compassion, but without being dispassionate.  We become deeply attached to Oliver, his new girlfriend, the father Hal, and even the father's boyfriend Andy.  And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the adorable Jack Russell terrier who serves as sounding board/glue for the whole group.  He deserves billing with the human leads, for his soulful and witty performance.


Here's the official movie website for more information: Beginners




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