Sunday, July 3, 2011

Movie Review: More Than "Beginners'" Luck...

Summer movies tend to blow you away with their special effects and their fantastical imagery. I've seen several "big" movies already this summer and eagerly await a few more before the season has ended.

What's great, however, is that I've also had the opportunity to see some smaller independent films which have blown me away in a completely different manner. Movies like Win Win and The Adjustment Bureau made me think and even packed an emotional punch.

The movie I saw earlier today, Beginners, possessed some terrific power of its own.

Ewan MacGregor, in one of his strongest performances ever, plays Oliver, a 30-something artist who drifts from relationship to relationship, more because he is afraid of them not working out than anything else. Shortly after his mother passes away, Oliver's father, Hal (a marvelous Christopher Plummer), comes out of the closet and decides to pursue a relationship with another man. While this surprises Oliver he remembers the struggles his parents had, and it seems a bit clearer. Oliver is tremendously supportive of Hal's relationship with physical trainer Andy (Goran Visnijc) and all of the changes he makes to his life. Shortly after—no spoiler here—Hal's death from cancer, Oliver meets Anna (Mélanie Laurent), an actress, and he tries to find the type of love his father finally found late in life.

This movie lays out its story in a non-linear way, flashing back and forth from Oliver's childhood to the present to key events in his relationship with his father. It is a story about the need to love and be loved, and the fear of failure in achieving those things. MacGregor's performance is a quiet one but it is tremendously affecting, and his interactions with Laurent and Plummer are both tinged with different types of emotional resonance.

I thought this was a fantastic movie, one which examines the power in the smaller moments of our lives. I hope it's a movie we hear about again come Oscar time.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Larry,

    I saw Beginners Saturday and your review is spot on. A wonderful, perfectly cast movie that I'll be sure to see again. Also, the soundtrack is worth getting.