Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Beginners (2010) - ★★½

Director: Mike Mills
Writer: Mike Mills
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic

Beginners is a fantastic movie in parts, and utterly boring in others. There were many great things about this film, including spectacular acting, music and memorable moments. Unfortunately it ended up being tiresome with a length of only 105 minutes, which is mainly the fault of the uninteresting love affair between McGregor and Laurent (through no fault of their own).

This is a film that includes coming out of the closet, dealing with grief and living life to the fullest while you can. Christopher Plummer plays Hal Fields, a 70-something year old man that, after his wife dies, comes out of the closet. This is because he wants to explore that side of him, which he never had the chance to back in the days when it was an 'illness' to be gay. McGregor plays his son Oliver, who accepts his father's new lifestyle although he doesn't fully understand it. Essentially there are two sides to Beginners; before Hal passes away and after he passes. Before he dies, we see his quest for love and a new life, while after he dies we are introduced to Anna, an actress that Oliver falls for whilst grieving the loss of his father. There are many issues that are delved into in Beginners, they just weren't entertaining, nor gripping.

Plummer was the clear star of this movie. He had a way of coming across as gay without uttering a single word, which is a master class of acting in my opinion. We laughed with him, we cried with him, and inevitably my heart broke when he dies. Without his skills, this film would have been a colossal bore. McGregor also gave a charming and beautiful performance as the likable and cooky Oliver. He's one of those actors who can say everything with their face, which he utilizes brilliantly. Laurent reminded me a lot of Juliette Binoche in this film, which made me like her before I even got to know her. Anna was an interesting and likable character that helps Oliver come to terms with his father's death, while at the same time must battle her inner demons. The performances in this film were without a doubt the highlight of the film and make up for most of the stars I've given. It is the theme to Beginners that made me add half a star, because it fit the film so well and was a joy to listen to.

Although this is a well-acted film, it couldn't be saved from the slow, tedious tempo and story development between Anna and Oliver. Sometimes I just wanted to yell "Get on with it!" It was obvious which direction their relationship was going, which is why it was so frustrating. It is a story that is predictable and slow, which makes waiting for the conclusion frustrating to sit through. I had my fingers crossed, just in case that would give me more scenes with Plummer. He was my primary motivation to watch the rest of the film, and when he passed, it was even more frustrating to see the love story unfurl, because nothing happens. Not to mention this film had many cliches that I was not too impressed with, such as the super touchy, silly gay man that Plummer had for a boyfriend. I guess the grounded and respectable Hal sort of makes up for the lack of exposure to nice, modest gay men.

Beginners is charming, funny, clever and above all, boring. The acting was marvelous throughout and the music accompanied it superbly. If only there was something more interesting and in depth than the tedious happenings of two depressed, boring people grieving over their fathers while dating each other. I recommend this film to people so that they can see Plummer give one of the greatest performances of his career, but not for its entertainment value.

No comments:

Post a Comment