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Heather's DVD Review: Beginners
Is it possible to find true happiness when others believed that it was too late? That's the premise behind the DVD release of Beginners, which told a familiar story with a different spin to it for better or worse.
Beginners followed Oliver Fields (Ewan McGregor) who was a man who never truly believed in love. He came close a few times, but always found a reason or two to back out before any real damage was done. Oliver blamed this on witnessing the disconnected relationship between his parents. After his mother died, OIiver was shocked when his father Hal (Christopher Plummer) told him that he was gay and always had been. He stayed married to his mother and loved her in his own way, but not in the way that she needed. Hal made the bold choice of living as a gay man at the age of 75 and he even got a younger boyfriend (Goran Visnjic) to make him laugh. Oliver and Hal developed a close bound that got even tighter when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Oliver spent time taking care of his father and was devastated upon his death. He gets a second chance at happiness when he meets French actress Anna (Melanie Laurent) afraid of choosing everlasting happiness. Can Oliver and Anna put their emotional baggage aside long enough to be happy?
In terms of plot, Beginners had a familiar but touching story about the love between a father and son that was heartbreaking to watch. The story was based on Director Mike Mills' real-life relationship with his late father and this movie was a touching tribute to his father. Plummer embodied Mills' father to perfection by providing Hal with a joy for life that was beyond compare. He should definitely prepare an acceptance speech come February 26th for Oscar night, because the Best Supporting Actor is definitely his for the taking. Plummer is long overdue for an Oscar and this movie will get him the award that has long escaped his grasp for decades. McGregor provided decent support as the emotional stunted Oliver who became in touch with his feelings after his father died. The audience felt his heartbreak when Oliver openly cried after he said his private goodbye to a man who he grew to love more than he cared to admit. McGregor had believable chemistry with Laurent as they played restrained lovers looking to take the next cautious step. The un-linear plot served to give the story a stream of consciousness vibe, but it sometimes went off the rails with excessive imagery and bordered on bizarre with Arthur the subtitled talking dog. Oliver's relationship with Arthur was cute, but the subtitles were too much. If it wasn't for those things, the movie would be near perfection.
Verdict: A unique but touching movie about love for family and for others told out of sequence.
DVD Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: R
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)