When it comes to movies surrounding the subject of love there seems to be two types of relationships. Most of the time in a romance movie what is showcased can best be classified as movie love; a relationship between movie characters that can sometimes be interesting, but usually falls flat and ends up exactly where you predicted. Then, there’s that rare kind of love that few filmmakers have managed to capture; the kind that makes you truly feel for and care about these characters and makes pray that- with all their beautiful chemistry and quirky moments- happy ending is a head and not because you want the film to follow the unprinted rule of the romance film, but because you truly believe this is the kind of love that should last. In a profound tale of love, life and the ups and downs you’ll find in both, Beginners has a relationship of this kind and so much more.
In one of his best performances, Ewan McGregor plays main character Oliver Fields who finds out that his father is gay and if that wasn’t surprise for him enough, next he finds that his father has cancer. Oliver’s father, Hal, is played by the always excellent Christopher Plummer with potent honesty. In Hal you’ll find a man, who even in times of sadness, needs to have a bit of fun. The idea of the Hal Fields character could’ve been over the top, but due to the eloquent writing and a fabulous performance, the character feels real.
This bleak tale of Oliver spending as much time with his father as he can is juxtaposed with a delightful showcasing of Oliver’s growing relationship with the incredibly charming french actress, Anna. Anna is played by promising actress, Melanie Laurent. I’ve only seen her before in one of my favorite films, Inglourious Basterds, and seeing her in this once again makes me want to see her in more. The relationship between Anna and Oliver is quite honestly one of the greatest and most believable relationships ever filmed.
The other star and charmer of this film is the dog, Arthur. Every relationship in the film is not one of cinema, but one of purity. And I mean every relationship; Oliver and Anna, Oliver and Hal, Hal and his new found boyfriend, even Oliver and Arthur. Beginners effectively succeeds in the way it doesn’t try to be anything more than it is and what Beginners is, is extraordinary.
All around, Beginners is just an unbelievably spectacular film. The direction is spot on, the performances are award-worthy, the writing makes for a mellow, yet awe-inspiring tale of us and the relationships that stick with us. What else can be said? Beginners is just a truly awesome movie on all accounts, in fact I’ll say it, Beginners is a masterpiece. I only say that when its warranted and for this film it is undoubtedly warranted.