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BEGINNERS

Director: MIKE MILLS

105 minutes| U.S.A.| 2010| Colour| D-Cinema


In this distinctive spin on the coming-out story, it’s the 75-year-old dad (a glorious Christopher Plummer) who announces he’s gay after decades of marriage, and the son (Ewan McGregor, in arguably his most mature work to date) who’s rather discombobulated by the whole thing. The latter’s just met someone new (delightful Melanie Laurent), but this throws his own romantic prospects for a loop. What sounds like some quirky high-concept comedy turns into a delicately shaded, witty and touching insight into the part played by trust and risk in our relationships.
Unlikely as it seems, the story’s actually based on writer-director Mike Mills’ own personal history, and as a graphic artist who’s designed for the likes of Sonic Youth and Air, he’s put that side of his creativity into the film – not to mention a historical angle on marginalised gay life in the conformist 1950s. The result is unusual, very much itself, and utterly disarming in its captivating visuals and emotional candour. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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