Saturday, May 26, 2012

BEGINNERS

Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent


"This is what love feels like"




The film opens on a quiet note as Oliver (Ewan McGregor) is rummaging through several items to clear in a big house. It is 2003 and his father Hal (Christopher Plummer) has recently passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer, leaving Oliver with a heavy load of baggage to sort through. Both physical and psychological, that it.

It wasn't that Hal belatedly and proudly came out as a homosexual - at 75 years of age - that threw Oliver so much. It came as more of a shock to realize that someone could keep his true sexuality a secret, most of his life. Hal comes out after his wife of over 40 years dies even though we can ascertain from the film that she knew about his 'secret'. But for Oliver, a taciturn graphic designer, this news is unsettling yet at the same time, he embraces his father's true self. He is in a way glad that his father is slowly regaining his joie de vivre.

As Oliver slowly recovers from his father's death, he has to face his own demons. His somewhat strange and sad upbringing courtesy mostly of his eccentric mother, Georgia (Mary Page Keller) prevents him from truly committing to a budding romance, to his dull job and to life in general. He has the capacity to succeed but he is having difficulty conveying it through the proper channels.

An intricate series of flashbacks depicting the final phase of Hal's life - as witnessed by a confused Oliver - is wonderfully warm and sincerely quirky stuff. Cleverly presented by showing still images from significant periods in both Hal and Oliver's lives, the film is buoyed by a narration from Oliver.

A vital supporting character Arthur, a soulful Jack Russell terrier, would draw all the audience attention away from the human characters. But the award winning performances by Plummer (he deserved the Oscars Best Supporting Award for this role) and McGregor are so superb that everyone is able to share in the glory.

A subtle, sensitive picture about love, loss and loneliness, I'd certainly recommend you watch "Beginners" and be utterly moved by its poignant story.

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