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Beginners (2010)

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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.

Director:

Mike Mills

Writer:

Mike Mills
Won 1 Oscar. Another 34 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ewan McGregor ... Oliver
Christopher Plummer ... Hal
Mélanie Laurent ... Anna
Goran Visnjic ... Andy
Kai Lennox ... Elliot
Mary Page Keller ... Georgia
Keegan Boos ... Young Oliver
China Shavers ... Shauna
Melissa Tang ... Liz
Amanda Payton ... Party Person
Luke Diliberto Luke Diliberto ... Green Witch
Lou Taylor Pucci ... Magician
Bambadjan Bamba ... The Sads
Hana Jane Hana Jane ... The Sads (as Hana Hwang)
Samuel T. Ritter Samuel T. Ritter ... The Sads
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is what love feels like.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

9 June 2011 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Beginners, así se siente el amor See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$141,340, 5 June 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,790,894, 8 September 2011

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,311,701, 27 February 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Hal was intended for Max von Sydow, who declined due to the nature of subject in favor of appearing as a mute in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011). He also was the first choice to play Henrik Vanger in the English version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011). Christopher Plummer replaced him in both of these films; however, both men lend their voices together in the video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Oliver: 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.
See more »

Connections

References Woman Times Seven (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Whatcha Gonna Do About It
Written by Brian Potter and Ian Samwell
Performed by The Litter
Courtesy of K-Tel Records/Dominion Entertainment, Inc.
License arranged by Fine Gold Music, LLC.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Weird but wonderful
5 August 2011 | by davidgeeSee all my reviews

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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