Beginners (Mills, 2010)

Beginners (Mike Mills, 2010)

Part poetic, realism-soaked relationship drama. Part overly-quirky ‘look at how odd my silly life is’ fluff. Ewan McGregor has never been better as a man nearing his forties who has never been in love and takes care of his sick, widowed, recently openly gay father. He is, of course, an animator working on album cover art for a band. (Can we just once have one of these characters have a regular old desk job?)

The story is told in several separate timelines all weaved together in a nice non-linear story. The present, which features McGregor’s character meeting and falling for a woman, is near cinematic perfection. The relationship feels genuine, both in its cute beginnings and in the way it is hampered by the two’s past demons. It both filled me with glee and sucked the life out of me. It was almost exhausting. The timeline following his father’s last months, and the timeline where we see McGregor’s character as a boy were less perfect but very necessary to really know who this man is. (And a lot of it is very funny.) Much of what we see in his current relationship fits perfectly with where he came from and what he has just been through. But I do really wish Mills would have navigated away from so many eccentricities; it feels like a crutch. People don’t always need wacky excuses to struggle in a relationship. Sometimes it just happens.  7.75/10

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2 Responses to “Beginners (Mills, 2010)”

  1. I enjoyed the different story/timelines. I found myself enjoying the father/son relationship even if I did find it a little less real than what I imagine it would be if his father had just come out after all of that time, etc.

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