Monday, June 18, 2012

113. BEGINNERS (2010)

Mike Mills (THUMBSUCKER) wrote and directed this interesting autobiographical clutch of character studies, which won Christopher Plummer his only Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In a story that hopscotches forth and back in time, Ewan McGregor plays a graphic artist who is tentatively but happily entering into a new relationship with a mysterious actress (Mélanie Laurent, who seems to be channeling Nastassja Kinski) and reliving the story of how his father came out as a homosexual following the death of his mother, and then became terminally ill while embracing the first sexually rewarding relationship of his life in old age. Mills tips the sombre subject matter ever so slightly toward whispery, good-natured humor with ideas like subtitling McGregor's dog, and a surprise twist on McGregor's notion to pay on unexpected visit on Laurent's New York apartment; the gentle pressure he applies is generally just enough for us to gladly swallow the bitter with the sweet. Plummer is marvelous, Laurent is intriguing and McGregor, while low-key, is clearly relishing the opportunity to immerse himself in an unexceptional, down-to-earth character. In terms of the craft that went into structuring this story, and the freshness of the emotions and dilemmas it evokes, it's about as diverting as a not-overly-ambitious mainstream dramedy can be.

Viewed on cable.


  1. Hi Tim,

    Hi, I think you were following my Necrotic Cinema blog. Or at least I seem to have been following yours :) I had to change the URL for a couple reasons. The drawback is I lost all my followers. If you like the sick site can you refollow me at:

    or my more "retro" film blog at

    In any case, thanks for all the great work.




  2. Your comments are spot on.

    Christopher Plummer is and has always been an actor I like very much. So happy that he was able to land this role, and the accompanying respect from his peers, in this late stage of his career.

    I found the contextual technique used (The "This is 1970, this is who was president, and this was the fad of the day" stuff) was quirky and enjoyable.