Beginners: movie review
Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor square off as father and son in 'Beginners,' a quirky drama with poignant depth.
Critics are supposed to criticize the movie before them and not the movie they wish they had seen instead. Easier said than done. Case in point: â€śBeginners,â€ť a film starring Christopher Plummer as Hal, a widower who, in his 70s, comes out to his startled son, Oliver (Ewan McGregor).
This is a fresh idea for a film, and apparently, according to the filmâ€™s writer-director Mike Mills, itâ€™s also semi-autobiographical. With actors like Plummer and McGregor playing off each other, I was psyched for something good.
â€śBeginnersâ€ť isnâ€™t bad, exactly, but Mills focuses much less on the father-son stuff than on Oliverâ€™s off-and-on liaison with a pretty French actress (MĂ©lanie Laurent, of â€śInglourious Basterdsâ€ť). He juggles time frames, invoking Oliverâ€™s memories of his mother. All of this has its value, but Plummer, in rollicking good form, without a shred of sentimentality, is primed for greatness, and Mills keeps cutting away from him just when things are getting interesting.
â€śBeginnersâ€ť is a case study in missed opportunities. Grade: B- (Rated R for language and some sexual content.)