Beginners (2011)



Critic Consensus: Wearing its twee heart on its sleeve, Beginners explores the depths of modern, multi-generational romance with wit and depth.

Movie Info

Beginners imaginatively explores the hilarity, confusion, and surprises of love through the evolving consciousness of Oliver (Ewan McGregor). Oliver meets the irreverent and unpredictable Anna (Mélanie Laurent) only months after his father Hal (Christopher Plummer) has passed away. This new love floods Oliver with memories of his father who - following 44 years of marriage - came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized, and wonderfully tumultuous gay life. The upheavals of Hal's … More

Rating: R (for language and some sexual content)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Mike Mills (II), Mike Mills
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 15, 2011
Box Office: $5.8M
Focus Features - Official Site


as Elliot

as Young Oliver

as Party Person

as Green Witch

as Hal's Friend

as Party Girl

as The Sads

as Record Company Rep

as Dr. Flaster

as Dr. Wright

as ICU Nurse #1

as Hal's Priest

as Secretary

as 1978 Museum Staff

as 1978 Fancy Woman

as 1978 Older Woman

as Terse Nurse

as ICU Nurse #2

as Home Nurse #1

as Hal Look-Alike

as Skating Rink Manager

as Robert

as The Primetimers

as The Primetimers

as The Primetimers

as The Primetimers

as The Primetimers

as The Primetimers
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Beginners

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Critic Reviews for Beginners

All Critics (151) | Top Critics (40)

"Beginners" ultimately becomes so deeply resonant that you should pack some Kleenexes just in case.

Full Review… | October 7, 2015
Critic's Notebook

Mills needs to look up from the lint that's collected in his navel.

Full Review… | May 12, 2015
The Improper Bostonian

Mike Mills treats love and loss with a disarming tenderness and a refusal of sentimentality that make Beginners, his second feature, something of an anomaly among male identity flicks. What a finely wrought, wryly funny, transcendently sad movie this is.

Full Review… | July 12, 2013
Film Comment Magazine

It understands death better than it understands life; it understands memories more than it understands what to learn from them.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

Beginners, beyond its pervasive atmosphere of melancholy and loss, suffers from a little self-indulgence. It's your typical indie drama.

Full Review… | June 2, 2013
We Got This Covered

Plummer, who won an Oscar for this, is that rare actor lucky enough to manage half a century of undiminished dash and elan on screen.

Full Review… | January 1, 2013
Tribune News Service

Audience Reviews for Beginners


Honestly couldn't get into this. Cover is so cute, movie doesn't match it at all. Kind of dull toned, slow pace...well, just dull. The gay dad angle was good, but didn't care about either of the two leads. Turned it off after half hour.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

I loved how the structure, the narration, and the subtle quirks of Mike Mills' "Beginners" heighten what is already a terrifically acted and uncommonly sincere story. The film wears it's heart on it's sleeve from the first frame and maintains it's emotional resonance without any sap or string pulling. Plummer won a most deserved Oscar for his memorable work, but it's puzzling as to why McGregor, excellent here, didn't get similar acknowledgements.

Michael S

Super Reviewer


"Beginners" is buoyed by its decision to play it straight and staying away from being over the top, quirky, or eccentric. Instead, this indie film decides to play up its varied and multi-talented cast by giving them sincere words to speak and dark fears to touch upon. The film itself is not completely an actor's film. The script is very poignant, touching upon the raw emotions of people dealing with death, insecurities, and their own feelings of loneliness. What's great about the film is that it deals with these complex emotions by looking at the lives of two generations of men, both plagued by their own inability to control their destinies and both remain stuck inside their own heads. The older half of this twosome is Hal, played by the incomparable Christopher Plummer. This is a role that belongs to Plummer, as he moves seamlessly between a man torn between the past and present. Instead of the gimmicky premise that you're expecting, very little of the film directly deals with Hal coming out the closet late in life. There are flashbacks which show him coming out to his son, being in a gay bar, and his relationship with a younger man, but most of them show the advice of the father being given to his hardhearted son. Ewan McGregor plays Oliver, who shifts between the present as the bereaved and yet not lost son, and in the past where he was watching his father live his life for the first time, and yet also watches it start to slip away. The poignancy of a life lost is even darker thanks to the irony of him never being himself for most of it. His dead wife isn't made the butt of the joke either, as she is represented well in the film, and that ties together a loose end that also translates to Oliver's life at present. He and Anna's (Laurent) love story is amazingly detailed, but drags in places, mostly because both seem very unsteady with their emotions. It's one of the more honest films about a couple that doesn't know how to be one.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Beginners Quotes

– Submitted by Victor M (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Victor M (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Victor M (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Victor M (2 years ago)

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