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Directed by Mike Mills
USA, 2010
Cornerhouse, 24 July 2011


For all the fact that it is complicated, multi-layered and full of many delights, this film has a simple subject: the search for love.

Shortly after the death of his father Hal (played by the great Christopher Plummer, here giving another consummate performance), Oliver (Ewan McGregor) meets Anna (Melanie Laurent) and, in wooing her, Oliver gains strength from remembering his father’s faltering yet ever-forward steps towards intimacy in later life.  Hal had declared himself gay on the passing of Oliver’s mother.

Imagine a superior romantic comedy, or rather two romances for the price of one, and you’ll have a fair idea of the rewards that this film has to offer.  It is funny, sad, poignant and joyful.  Just stay in the game, keep searching for love, is the take-home message.  In the words of the song, People who need people are the luckiest people in the world…

We are all amateurs when it comes to life, as Charlie Chaplin pointed out once.  Beginners is a film with its heart in the right place.