Beginners Movie Review: A Refreshingly Realistic Look At Starting Over

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Both Hal (Christoper Plummer) and Oliver (Ewan McGreggor) are beginners in their own lives -- and this idea of starting over is beautifully displayed in director Mike Mills' film, Beginners.

The non-linear plot goes back and forth in time from Oliver's point of view - it shows him in phases of his young life with his mother, his adult life with his father, and his own journey in a brand new relationship.

After his wife' death, Hal announces he is gay after 44 years of marriage, shocking his son.  He also announces he is going to start dating again and starts a love affair with a much younger man (Goran Visnjic).  In a tragic twist of events (as seen in the preview), he also learns he has been diagnosed with lung cancer -- just as he is getting to experience his life for the first time out of the closet.

Living Out of the Closet

While grieving the loss of his father, Oliver has a similar experience of new beginnings when he meets Anna (Melanie Laurant) and starts a relationship with her.  Historically, eager to run from his former relationships, he constantly has his father in the back of his mind questioning why nothing has ever lasted with him.

In his journey for understanding within his own life, his relationship with Anna, as well as his acceptance and understanding of his father, deepen.

Young Love

It explores every type of relationship from parental, romantic, friendships, even a beautiful relationship with a loyal canine.  Each of Oliver's relationships say something different about him as a person and bring a different piece of the puzzle to light for a man who's exploring new beginnings.


It is a film full of hope and creates a lasting impression on a viewer who might be reluctant to embrace who they are and let others into their personal circle.

Both Plummer and McGreggor give spectacular performances of a father and son, who have a deep relationship, that is only explored on the surface for most of the film.  It is through Oliver's present circumstances that we see him create an even deeper relationship with his father based on past memories.

Oliver Is Dealing With A Lot

The entire film comes across as 100% authentic.  Nothing is forced -- the dialogue is completely natural, and even the awkward pauses seem more real than many films today.

Beginners is brilliant from beginning to end and even though is jumps through time, the context fits perfectly and you are left with a gorgeous film that literally transcends time.

Beginners Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (40 Votes)

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Beginners Review

Both Hal (Christoper Plummer) and Oliver (Ewan McGreggor) are beginners in their own lives -- and this idea of starting over is...

Read Review Editor Rating
  • 4.5 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (40 Votes)