A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
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
Everything's Made for Love (You Know I Know)
Written by Al Sherman, Charles Tobias and Howard Johnson
Performed by Gene Austin
Courtesy of RCA Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing See more »
You're never too old to change. That's the message of "Beginners," a muted indie drama about two men - a father and a son - who alter the course of their lives in unexpected and dramatic ways.
For Hal (Christopher Plummer), that change is particularly stunning, since he has lived the first seven decades of his life as a closeted gay man, husband to a woman (Mary Page Keller) who believed she could "change" him and father to a son who bewilderingly stood witness to what he thought was nothing more than a loveless marriage. Only after his wife's death is Hal able to reveal the truth about himself to the world and to his son, and, in his 70s, he makes his long-delayed entrance into the "gay scene," even going so far as to procure a young immigrant boyfriend (Goran Visnjic) for himself. Unfortunately for Hal, the experience turns out to be a short-lived one, for, as the movie opens, we discover that Hal has recently died of cancer, and Oliver, who narrates the story, is still trying to cope with his perplexity and grief.
The real focus of the movie is on Oliver (Ewan McGregor) , who, like many men of his generation, finds it impossible to form lasting ties with the women he meets. Does this fear of commitment arise from having observed the unfulfilling relationship, the wasted lives of his own parents? Possibly. But Oliver may be running out of excuses, for he now has in his father a new role model to follow, that of a man who, after a lifetime of dishonesty and compromise, chose to grab at his one chance of happiness, to shake off the dust of an ossified existence and make his life count for something at the end. The good news for Oliver is that he has the opportunity to make that same resolution at a much earlier stage in his life, a possibility that becomes all the clearer when he falls for an alluring French actress (Melanie Laurent) who would like to start a serious romance with this troubled fellow.
Writer/director Mike Mills, who based the story on his own father, weaves a complex series of flashbacks to relate his story, never violating the hushed, respectful tone of the piece with big dramatic confrontations or corny melodramatics. - though he isn't averse to finding the humorous and playful side of life either, even in its darkest moments. For the most part, though, he simply shows us brief moments in these characters' lives, captured for posterity by the eye of the camera, poignant in the sense of sadness, loss, redemption, fulfillment and hope they convey.
Plummer and McGregor are, of course, flawless in their performances, but special note should be taken of Cosmo ("Hotel for Dogs"), the most scene-stealing pooch since Uggie in "The Artist."
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