Beginners was released back in 2010, and I have wanted to see it since then! Unfortunately, I missed it in theatres, and since then I have been on a search for it – whether it was Red Box or what, I was always checking racks for this film. To my surprise I found a copy at the library (the library I have the architecture crush on that looks like inspired by Spanish pueblos and is next to a lake!) If I were fifteen or sixteen at the time of its release, there’s no question Tree would have found a way to get her hands on this because she had quite the loyalty to follwoing McGregor’s career. My friend Laura had gushed about it in a letter way back, and I’d been anticipating our chance to discuss! And of course there’s the fact Christopher Plummer won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in his role as Hal Fields.
You know how sometimes you mentally hype up a movie, and then you experience a vague letdown when you finally watch it because you built your expectations too high? That didn’t happen here. I was immediately drawn in and intrigued. The soundtrack is absolutely beautiful, the acting is superb, the actors themselves are beautiful in these unique, raw ways (umm, hello! Can I please be Mélanie Laurent for a day?!), the lighting is GORGEOUS, and the story is just great.
IMDB will tell you that Beginners is about: A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover. But really, I’d say it’s so much more than that. Ewan McGregor plays Hal’s son, Oliver. The story is told in real time, and in flashbacks as he deals with the grief of his father’s death, but also as he navigates life in general. He watched his father find love, really soak up days, and he in turn has his own exploration of the heart. The characters are ultimately endearing, I didn’t cry but I laughed a lot, and I ached with them. I won’t lie: after watching this film, I had that airy feeling of delight (possibly whimsical?) and I just wanted to hop on a plane and gallivant around Paris.
Sure this film has its sad moments (I mean, look at the subject matter!) but all in all I felt uplifted watching it, and I definitely recommend you checking it out if you haven’t seen it yet. Here’s a trailer, so you can get a glimpse!