Five years after Thumbsucker, director Mike Mills returns to the Festival with another winning indie dramedy that balances humour, sorrow and romance with aplomb. Beginners deftly juggles two chronologies to tell the heartwarming story of two major points in the life of Oliver (Ewan McGregor), a talented illustrator.
One timeline follows the slow-burning deterioration of Oliver’s father (Christopher Plummer), who is dying of cancer. But his impending death is not the only news that has caught Oliver off guard; his divorced father, at the age of seventy-five, has also come out of the closet. Just like that, he gets a new wardrobe, a new boyfriend and an entirely new outlook on life.
Following his father’s death, a bereaved Oliver becomes somewhat of a shut-in. As Beginners takes us through his personal journey, the film flashes forward, intercutting a budding relationship between Oliver and a young French actress (Inglourious Basterd’s Mélanie Laurent) whom he meets at a costume party that he attends under duress. The twin narratives gradually reveal subtle associations about how Oliver reacts to both these unpredictable relationships, and how his father and girlfriend motivate him to surpass his self-prescribed limitations.
McGregor and Laurent have natural onscreen chemistry, and Plummer is outstanding in his rich portrayal of a dying man who is finally able to live honestly, breaking out of his shell so near the end of his life. The ensemble cast lends the film a warm, understated aura that never feels the least bit contrived.
Mills is at the top of his game in crafting dynamic mood pieces that steer clear of the usual trappings found in American independent cinema. The outcome is a thoroughly enjoyable character study about people opening up and discovering themselves despite age, preconceptions and illness.
Mike Mills was born in 1966, Berkeley, California. He graduated from Cooper Union, 1989.
He works as a filmmaker, graphic designer and artist. As a filmmaker, Mike has completed a number of music videos, commercials, short films, documentaries, and the feature film Thumbsucker (2005). The Architecture of Reassurance (1999), a short film he wrote and directed, was in the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Oberhausen short film festival, and The New York Museum of Modern Art’s New Directors New Films. Paperboys (2001), documents the daily life of six boys in rural Minnesota. “Deformer”, documents the life of the world-famous skateboarder Ed Templeton, was featured in the Edinburgh and Rotterdam International film festivals, and Eating, Sleeping, Waiting and Playing (2003), a tour documentary of the French band Air and their audiences is available on DVD. The connected documentaries; “Hair Shoes Love and Honesty” 1998, and “Not… read more
The full list of nominees and winners of this year’s Academy Awards.
Runner-Up: The Tree of Life, for which Terrence Malick wins Best Director.
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Nos Estados Unidos o título é Beginners. Apropriadamente, o recomeço é uma constante para os personagens de McGregor, Plummer e Mélanie Laurent. Seja no caso de um idoso, chefe de família, viúvo, que… read review
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