This is the second time this week we’ve been moved by senior-citizen gays. In Beginners, the inspiration for a 75-year-old man coming out as homosexual came right from director Mike Mills’ own experience with his father. It’s heartwarming, hilarious, and easily one of the best movies you’ll see all year. This one has Oscar written all over it.
The story bounces back and forth in time, starting with Ewan McGregor’s Oliver packing up belongings after his father’s (Christopher Plummer) death. In flashbacks, we’re introduced to Oliver as a child and the effect of his parents’ sham romance. Or, in later years when his father comes out to him. As he struggles with grief and the meaning of both his father’s life and his own, Oliver meets a woman named Anna (Mélanie Laurent) at a costume party. Love blossoms, but Oliver struggles to stick with the relationship for the long haul, calling on memories of his father’s late-in-life bravery and newfound enthusiasm for everything around him.
Hilarious at times, heartbreaking at others, it’s a wonderful film with an innovative approach to storytelling, intermingling drawings, photographs and other graphic means of progressing the narrative. Even the family dog gets a few great bits of dialogue.
Most of all, Beginners reminds us that no matter how old we are, there’s always a chance to start over. Always an opportunity to reimagine ourselves, and our lives. Sure, late is better than never, but we can’t help but be inspired to reach for our dreams sooner. As in now.
Opens today in major markets, expanding soon