An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.
Richard E. Grant
A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century".
Jean François Heckel,
In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows Al Gore on the lecture circuit, as the former presidential candidate campaigns to raise public awareness of the dangers of global warming and calls for immediate action to curb its destructive effects on the environment.
In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Clifton Collins Jr.,
In 2003, 38-year-old graphic artist Oliver Fields has just lost his father Hal to cancer, 5 years after his mother Georgia's death. Oliver is naturally sullen because of his relationships with his parents growing up (especially his mother, who had a unique view of life) and watching their cordial but somewhat distant marital relationship, but he's more so now as he deals with his personal losses. He embarks on a relationship with French actress Anna, hoping that his re-energized relationship with Hal following Georgia's death, and Hal's new outlook on life, will show him how to act in a loving relationship. After Georgia's death, Hal came out of the closet and began to live with a new joie de vivre and have an open relationship with Andy, a much-younger man. Oliver's relationship with Anna has other obstacles, including her own vagabond lifestyle and Oliver inheriting Arthur, Hal's very needy Jack Russell terrier.Written by
On Hal Fields' death certificate, it says "Date of death: 09/17/04". We know from the movie that he's already passed away in 2003. See more »
Rabbit. What is real? Does it hurt? Horse. Sometimes Rabbit. Does it happen all at once Horse. It takes a long time. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes dropped out and you get a loose in the joints. But these things don't matter at all, because you are Real and you can't be ugly except to people who don't understand.
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BEGINNERS is not an easy film. It's very 'talky' and jumps almost randomly between Oliver's boyhood, Hal's coming out and getting sick, and Oliver's on-off affair with zany Anna. Although set in sunny California, there are many under-lit scenes reminiscent of French New Wave cinema or early Woody Allens. Key episodes are, almost perversely, missing. Hal is largely absent from Oliver's mother-dominated boyhood; he later admits to having sex in mens-rooms but we don't see any of that. We see his decline and death but not his wife's. We are not shown any of Oliver's life between boyhood and his father's 'liberation'.
The performances are nothing less than brilliant. Christopher Plummer, plunging into gay life in his seventies and dying with curmudgeonly dignity, will very likely be nominated for an Oscar and miss out (like Colin Firth going down the gay road in A SINGLE MAN). Ewan McGregor gets perfectly under the skin of Oliver, who finds it easier to love his gay dad than commit to a new girlfriend. And Melanie Laurent's Anna is beguiling and disturbing; the viewer to feel what Oliver feels: you want to love her but something holds you back.
There is also a scene-stealing Jack Russell, Arthur, the love of Hal's life who becomes the love of Oliver's. A talking dog! – that is to say, writer/director Mike Mills gives Arthur subtitled thoughts every now and again. Kind of weird and kind of wonderful – kind of like the movie.
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