It's 2003. Thirty-eight year old graphic artist Oliver Fields has just lost his father Hal Fields to cancer, after Oliver's mother Georgia Fields passed away five years earlier. Oliver is naturally a sullen man due to his growing up relationship with his parents (his mother who had a unique view on life) and watching his parents' cordial but somewhat distant relationship with each other, but is more so now because of his personal family loss. Oliver embarks on a relationship with Anna, a French actress. Oliver is hoping that his re-energized relationship with Hal following Georgia's death and Hal's new outlook on life during that time will show Oliver how to act in a loving relationship. After Georgia's death, Hal came out of the closet and began to live with a joie de vivre that did not exist before, which included an open relationship with a much younger man named Andy. Oliver's relationship with Anna has other obstacles, including Anna's own vagabond lifestyle and Oliver needing to... Written by
Beginners is a great film that will not satisfy a few viewers, as evidenced by other comments here. First, here's what it will not do: it will not feed you a linear story with a single, simple plot. The beauty of this film is in its complexity, which faithfully reflects the dynamics of real life. There are flashbacks. There is highly cinematic use of material that is intended to suggest mood, rather than deliver it with dead dialog. Yes, the dog gets a few subtitles, highly credible for anyone who has ever owned a dog. There is even a brief moment in which solid colors flash on the screen, and we occasionally visit the protagonist's revealing sketches. There is a message in all of this that some will not appreciate. Several stories are magically woven together: the son's difficulty in maintaining a relationship, the girlfriend's own hesitation to commit to one place and one person, the mother's endurance of a marriage that worked on only one level, the father's adjustment to his new gay life, and his boyfriend's worries that he is not accepted because he is gay. Whew! That's a lot to cram into one story, but it works remarkably well and we see in the end that all the characters were what the title said, Beginners.
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