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34 Reviews
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love and death in Los Angeles
In the aftermath of his father's death an artist (Ewan McGregor) meets and falls in love with a young woman (Melanie Laurent). The story proceeds through the first weeks of this relationship with flashbacks on memories of the artist's childhood and of his father's last days. The flashbacks help us understand why McGregor's character is having such a hard time building a...
Published on 10 Aug 2011 by Aidan J. McQuade

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I found it disappointing
I was looking very forward to seeing this movie after the media buildup, but I found it disappointing and superficial
Published 18 months ago by Forbes


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Layered and poignant, 5 Dec 2011
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N. Alterskye "muso_confuso" (MK, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beginners [DVD] (DVD)
Great little film and probably Ewan McGregor's best in years. Portrays significant depth of emotional and sociological ideals such as growing old, finding love and dealing with inner demons. So may layers are peeled back slowly throughout the film, allowing the viewer to really feel each characters pain and burdens. Melanie Laurent shows herself to be a true gem, and a talent of the future.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a gem, 16 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Beginners [DVD] (DVD)
a marvelous little film , based on the directors father . This is not your typical holywood film , not a rom com and is more melancholy and moving for that [ think the station agent ] . McGregor is actually good again and there is great chemistry between him and the beautiful Laurent. Plummer as the father is brilliant and never is the story sentimental or weepy . Visjic as the larger than life boy friend is a shock though . And ofcourse I have not praised the main star of this gem , the jolly acting of the little dog . When so many films now are cheap , loud , crude , this is a lovely lovely affair .
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky but at times magical and very human love story., 9 Jan 2012
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T. BROOKES "Brookey" (Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beginners [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
It stars Ewan McGregor as Oliver, the son grieving the loss of his father (Christopher Plummer), who came out as gay aged 75 once his wife had died. Oliver (a 38 year old artist) is a quitter on relationships, but falls for a younger French actress (Melanie Laurent).

The cast is excellent, if not oddly eccentric, and the inclusion of a little Jack Russell Dog is a sweet and sublime touch. It is a true story and is told well, mixing realistic tones with those of fantasy based dreamy touches and emotion. The music compliments impressively and the light, heady feel to the film makes it quite unique and it thus owns a quality of independent creativity.

My only moans are that it is quite quirky and the prominent American element (such as McGregor's accent) may dilute it's individualism amongst viewers.

I, on the whole, love and praise this film, a quirky cup of tea mixing love, sadness, confusion and emotion well.

The Blu-Ray looks good in High-Def and features include a short 'making of video diary documentary' worth a watch.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film and thought provoking., 15 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Beginners [DVD] (DVD)
Ewan McGregor is great in this and so is the dog. It's a charming story at a steadying pace. For an intelligent deep thinking public to view.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It is OK and no more, 27 Sep 2013
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M. Ögren "ogren" (Stockholm) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beginners [DVD] (DVD)
The best part is played by the dog. The film has an important agenda but fails to make it. Sorry
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual downbeat drama., 8 Oct 2012
This review is from: Beginners [DVD] (DVD)
The stark, uncomfortably quiet opening where Oliver (Ewen McGregor) is cleaning out the house of his recently deceased father, emptying stuff into bin bags to stack outside, on a fairly miserable looking day, pretty well sets the mood for what is to follow. The film constantly switches between flashbacks of his dad's (Christopher Plumber)last years and episodes growing up with his mum, along side the present day as he falls for free-spirited French actress Anna. After the death of his mother, his dad had determined to live to the full the gay lifestyle that he was unable to before, even more so as he finds that he is terminally ill. There are moments of humour in the film and there is a quirky charm, but if this is a 'comedy drama' it is way down the drama end and low on any really funny moments. The film is thought-provoking and poignant at times and there are good performances by Plummer and his insecure boyfriend. I can see why some reviewers might regard it as depressing. My main criticisms would be the underdeveloped characters of Oliver's friends which did not seem to add to the story, and the over intensity of Anna and Oliver who seem tortured and rarely as happy as I'd think they should be. Definitely not a rom-com - this was an interesting watch (but probably not one I will watch again). Low key Soundtrack was ideal for the film.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Film, 15 Dec 2011
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A. D. Gherson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beginners [DVD] (DVD)
Great........Good..............Very Good!

Christopher Plummer was outstanding and so was Ewan Mcgregor but the dream casting was Melanie Laurent. She is an actor of many talents and emotions and although she is inbetween two acting heavyweights she is marvellous and is an absolute treat. The film is complex and your emotions are put to the test but since acquiring it I have watched it twice and will watch it again as there are new things to see and new emotions to feel.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Beginners - Touching film that sensitively deals with some big issues, 30 Sep 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beginners [DVD] (DVD)
Life can often be full of surprises. Oliver's (McGregor) life starts to undergo profound changes when his father (Plummer) declares himself gay, then discovers he has terminal cancer. After his father's death he is further surprised when he falls for Anna (Laurent), but dealing with the emotional upheaval of his father's passing causes problems with the new relationship.

This is a nicely observed character study, with a decent touch of humour and a story that goes somewhere. Throughout the story all the characters really develop, especially McGregor who shows how good an actor he really is. Christopher Plummer gives a top notch performance as the newly confessed gay Hal, who then goes on to fully embrace every aspect of his new life, and to extract every last drop of fun from it while he can.

While Plummer and McGregor are top billed, the star of the show has to be Hal's dog, Arthur, who gets some of the best lines in the film...

It would have been so easy to be heavy handed with this subject matter and produce a leaden intense drama, but the light touch from both director and actors makes this a charming and easygoing experience that leaves you refreshed. It might be a light touch, but it certainly isn't lightweight. And while it is funny in places, this is contrasted (as many of the best comedies do) with extreme sadness. It is a textured, thoughtful experience that, while never going to sweep the awards, is a worthwhile film to watch. 4 stars.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C'est beau ici......dans le film, 16 Jan 2012
This review is from: Beginners [DVD] (DVD)
Having seen a clip of the film on the Graham Norton Show before becoming interested in it, I knew what to expect - this is not a classic Hollywood love story/romcom, and those looking for some sort of glamorous easy-to-watch corporate-produced film should look away now (I myself love a good romcom as well!). With this film, either you get it or you don't, and so I can understand why some have given it lower ratings.

However if you get it, you really get it. This is possibly one of the best films I have ever seen - poignant, beautifully filmed (clearly low-budget), moving from the present day in which the shots revolve around McGregor and Laurent's characters to the past memories of a bizarre childhood and an adulthood, with the shots being clean and straight as we cannot take an objective position and observe our memories from another angle. The title is clear: this follows the story of each character as they come to begin in life. For Oliver, this is after the death of both of his parents when he meets an alluring French woman at a party - Anna; and they set off on their journey of discovery of what love really feels like, means, is. It is not easy and there are problems along the way - are you really ready to sacrifice yourself and commit to one person? For Hal, Oliver's father, his 'beginning' was at the age of 75, following the death of his wife, when he came out to his son. It is almost tear jerkingly beautiful that the last four years of his life were perhaps the most lively he has had - he falls in love, renews his wardrobe etc. etc. and it is the memory of him and Oliver's mother that bring him to the point at which he ends up at the finishing line of the film: the ending of the beginning, but nowhere near the ultimate end.

This is acted beautiful (especially by the dog!) and the fact that this is based on the true story of the writer/director, Mike Mills makes it even more beautiful to watch. The use of magazine pictures, photographs and graphics to express ideas of the past such as 'this is what love looked like....this is what beautiful looked like....' is extremely effective - you cannot examine what you did not experience in the past, and so we only have these pictures to go on when talking about our own lives; our own family histories.

The character of Anna also reminded me greatly of Anny in Sartre's 'Nausea' - her ideas of freedom in relation to empty rooms are extremely interesting and poignant in relation to the randomness and completely free, yet paradoxically completely restraining nature of life itself; and even the graffiti of 'historical consciousness' on the walls alludes to the existence of all objects which Sartre painfully highlights to us in his work. This film is, as a result, a true masterpiece which is on the face of it a story about a man coming out at the age of 75 (beautiful in itself); but once you begin to notice the smaller themes and threads that make up the whole, it is something so much more.

And so much better.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful fim, 27 Dec 2011
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This review is from: Beginners [DVD] (DVD)
This is a beautiful film, unusual in that every single character is appealing. The film does not go for cheap thrills with chaos, appalling behaviour, violence, sex; but radiates love of many different sorts and leaves the viewer touched and delighted. I am only sad there aren't more films like this
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Beginners [DVD] by Mike Mills (DVD - 2011)
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