Highly anticipated (greatly by myself), Beginners really didn’t disappoint. I first heard of this film through the wonderful Miranda July who, if you don’t know, is married to writer and director Mike Mills.
July, notes on her facebook page, “He described it to me on our very first date. And now, six years later, it opens in theaters. Today! And you’ll be there! Laughing and crying, I promise”.
Mills certainly delivers both happiness and sadness which like many of the films of the last 5-10 years falls into what many have dubbed ‘the new sincerity’. Managing to be both poignant and funny, Mills avoids getting too heavy even when we are immediately told his main character, Oliver, played wonderfully (honest) by Ewan McGregor, is coming to grips with his mother’s death and his father’s terminal cancer, alongside his newly aired homosexual identity. Heavy, eh? Well no.
The tone is kept light with importance as Mills touches on the romance, heartbreak and reality of everyday life without all that hollywood cheese. We also get some lovely montages of drawings, stills and beautifully shot scenes. Beginners, largely based on Mills’ own life, to quote July again, may for this reason be most accurately summed up as,
““…life is so ridiculously gorgeous, strange, heartbreaking, horrific…that we are compelled to describe it to ourselves, but we can’t! We cannot do it! And so we make art”.
Go see it.