Beginners (2011)



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

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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 new honesty, by turns funny and moving, brought father and son closer than they'd ever been able to be. Now Oliver endeavors to love Anna with all the bravery, humor, and hope that his father taught him. -- (c) IFC
R (for language and some sexual content)
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Ewan McGregor
as Oliver
Kai Lennox
as Elliot
Keegan Boos
as Young Oliver
Amanda Payton
as Party Person
Luke Diliberto
as Green Witch
Lou Taylor Pucci
as Magician
Bill Oberst Jr.
as Hal's Friend
Jessica Elder
as Party Girl
Bambadjan Bamba
as The Sads
Hana Hwang
as The Sads
Samuel T. Ritter
as The Sads
Jennifer Lauren Grant
as Record Company Rep
Jodi Long
as Dr. Flaster
Bruce French
as Dr. Wright
Leslie Shea
as ICU Nurse #1
Michael Chieffo
as Hal's Priest
Jennifer Hasty
as Secretary
Rodney Saulsberry
as 1978 Museum Staff
June Sanders
as 1978 Fancy Woman
Catherine McGoohan
as 1978 Older Woman
Terry Walters
as Terse Nurse
Lana Young
as ICU Nurse #2
Algerita Wynn Lewis
as Nice Nurse
Regina McKee Redwing
as Strict Nurse
Sunday Burke
as Home Nurse #1
Patrick Birkett
as Hal Look-Alike
Sabera Wise
as Skating Rink Manager
T.G. Cody
as The Primetimers
Ton Suckhasem
as The Primetimers
Charly Valentino
as The Primetimers
Seth Walker
as The Primetimers
Patrick Scott
as The Primetimers
Michael Wilhelms
as The Primetimers
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Critic Reviews for Beginners

All Critics (149) | Top Critics (41)

The film is not about a straight man's struggle to understand how his father is gay; it's about learning that happiness is always possible if you're brave enough to keep your heart open.

Full Review… | June 30, 2011
Miami Herald
Top Critic

"Beginners" is warm and revealing and bittersweet, if a trifle all over the place stylistically and thematically.

June 28, 2011
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

A strange and beautiful film.

Full Review… | June 23, 2011
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

"Beginners" is a delightful film - gentle, playful, creative and ultimately happy - though it's a tricky journey.

Full Review… | June 23, 2011
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Excruciatingly faux-naïve and sentimental...

Full Review… | June 19, 2011
New Yorker
Top Critic

Wwhile there's plenty of melancholia, there is also sweet wonder and celebration in writer-director Mike Mills' semiautobiographical tale of a straight son coming to terms with his own love's possibilities after his father comes out of the closet.

June 17, 2011
Denver Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Beginners


This is certainly not a comedy (the sense of humor doesn't work that well), and I found it sad and depressing, contrary to those who thought it was sweet and optimistic. Besides, the characters seem too shallow in their artificial indie quirkiness and the dialogue is very annoying.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


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
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
Michael S

Super Reviewer

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