MIKE MILLS’ BEGINNERS — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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Released in 2010, Beginners is a sweet and sad little film in equal measure, with a generous and warmhearted script from director Mike Mills. Christopher Plummer was absolutely fantastic as an older man who suddenly announces that he’s gay, which brings him and his son, played by the always great Ewan McGregor, even closer together as a unit. There’s some great chemistry between McGregor and the gorgeous Melanie Laurent, who plays McGregor’s love interest, and who delights with some casual peek-a-boo nudity. Mills’ quirky directorial style, which smartly utilizes a flashback structure, punches up the film with some stylish pizzazz, while the ending contains some bittersweet notes of personal reflection that felt honest and rooted in the here and now. Kasper Tuxen’s shimmery cinematography creates a luxurious but never ostentatious visual mood, while the peppy but melancholic score from Roger Neill, Dave Palmer, and Brian Reitzell fit the story like a glove. There’s also some of the best dog acting I’ve ever seen; the reaction shots from the pooch are beyond adorable and smartly integrated into the playful narrative. Mills based the story off of his personal experiences when his father came out of the closet late in life.

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