Beginners

Comedy • R • Directed by: Mike Mills • 104 minutes

★★★★

Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor (Star Wars I, II, III), Academy Award® nominee Christopher Plummer (Inside Man), and Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) star in Beginners, an uplifting comedy about how funny and transformative life can be. When graphic designer Oliver (McGregor) meets free-spirited Anna (Laurent) shortly after his father (Plummer) has passed away, Oliver realizes just how much of a beginner he is when it comes to long-lasting romantic love. Memories of his father, who, following the death of his wife of 45 years, came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized, and wonderfully tumultuous gay life, encourage Oliver to open himself up to the potential of a true relationship. Inspired by writer/director Mike Mills’ own father, it’s an original love story that critics cheer is “smart, poignant and often hilarious!” (Karen Durbin, Elle)

Why we picked this film

Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, and Mélanie Laurent star in Beginners, an uplifting comedy about how funny and transformative life can be. When graphic designer Oliver (McGregor) meets free-spirited Anna (Laurent) shortly after his father (Plummer) has passed away, Oliver realizes just how much of a beginner he is when it comes to long-lasting romantic love. Memories of his father, who, following the death of his wife of 45 years, came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized, and wonderfully tumultuous gay life, encourage Oliver to open himself up to the potential of a true relationship. Inspired by writer/director Mike Mills? own father.

Viewer reviews

One you can watch again & again
★★★★★
Loved it the first time- and the second -third and more too! A lot of depth - humor - and very captivating and interesting! — SBill

Touching, smart
★★★★★
I love this movie. I had no idea what to expect other than adoring Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor so the unexpected made it even more moving. I'll be watching it again. — An Adult Reader

I loved it
★★★★★
It is about two people being so lost because of their up bringing and working very hard on finding themselves and ultimately each other. Beautifully acted, great characters, wonderful movie with lot of surprises. I was very glad that I used my two hours to watch this wonderful film. It is not a comedy, but instead a beautifully done well worth your time movie. — Ili's Review

Quiet... and leaves it mark
★★★★
What a quiet, reflective film .. beautiful .. and sticks with you. I've been sitting quietly now just letting the film wash over me. It seems to have a captured the ebb and flow of life in a way that rings true and was just what I was looking for today. A quiet afternoon to share with fresh, honest, full characters and get some new notions to toss around in my own mind as I venture forth into my own challenges and everyday living. — clare2020

Look out!
★★★★
The preview and the description do not fairly represent this movie! This was a heavy, serious, and not a funny movie. Do not go into this expecting a lightly funny and uplifting movie; it's not. It is well acted all around, even the dog is good. So, be careful and do your homework on this one before investing the time. — Loves Movies too

Unique
★★★★★
Very original movie. Great acting, I loved every single character. Glad I watched it. It made me a bit sad for some reason, but that's okay because it made me think. There are excellent lessons to be learned here about relationships and tolerance. It's a bold movie, in a good way. — MacMan9876

Loved it
★★★★★
Thought it was beautiful. — Jon's Powerbook G4

sad little movie
★★★★★
Plot Summary claimed "uplifting comedy", but I thought it was kind of a sad little movie. I did laugh out loud one time, but please don't rent this if you're in the mood for a comedy. — dgnickname

Great movie
★★★★★
Loved it. — Ceongpin Cha

What a waste
★★★★
This movie is not how it appears in the trailer. It's slow and lacks the necessary substance to keep someone entertained. I wish I hadn't rented it, I would be happier with my $3.99. Because of this I probably won't rent movies off of iTunes anymore, I hate to throw away money on a movie I end up not liking at all. I'll start going my local movie store where I can probably get 2 movies for this price. — Nw_guy88

Was not funny
★★★★★
This movie was boring to silent and no action or drama he finds a girl and his dad is gay not... Good at all buy I loved the dog — Lexic89Jake

Didn't find it funny
★★★★★
I rented this movie because I love Ewan Macgregor. Though it is a comedy, I didn't find anything about it funny. I didn't dislike it. Ewan was a pleasure to watch...as always. Oh, and loved the cute little dog! — ssloan1

WARNING- NOT A COMEDY
★★★★★
THIS IS NOT A COMEDY! It"s a wonderful movie if you want to cry- period. — Vanessa Bauders

Beginners
★★★★★
Love love love....had to watch it again. — winnie1946

Very disappointing movie
★★★★
Bought this film few weeks ago. Tried to watch the movie several times, but felt asleep each time... Very disappointing film.. — Peter z Kosic

very slow and dull
★★★★★
This movie although it has fine actors in it is incredibly slow and boring. I would not recommend it. — Nan**

Perfection
★★★★★
This was the best film I was last year. It's a story of truth. Some have called it slow but this is a film about people, life and love. I don't that this film will resonate with those who have not experienced profound sadness or loss in their lives but for those who have we understand the journey of Ewan's character. This is also a story about the affect one's parents have on their children's relationships. As a psych student I found this very intriguing. — heathbaby

Yawn
★★★★
I literally fell asleep two different times before I could get through this movie once. Melanie Laurent is lovely and just looking at her is a pleasure, but otherwise, I was very disappointed. — SDoublait

Such a wonderful surprise
★★★★★
Great writing. The dog steals the show - but the other actors are fantastic as well. Great movie! — MojoAdam

Disappointing
★★★★★
This movie fails to explore the promising situation of a father's coming out late in life to his son (as Dad is dying) and instead centers on the romance son undertakes with an exotic actress. The love story is banal to the point of tedium, with Ms. Laurent, who can act only with her face, telegraphing each and every emotional shift with a new expression. Her beauty soon becomes tiresome. McGregor has never been so passive. The movie comes alive only when Plummer is onscreen -- which is lamentably seldom. — alternafan

A Pass
★★★★
I was excited to see this movie. It received such good reviews. I don't get it. The film was an editing mess. Somewhere there a good movie, but Beginners missed by a mile. I was bored to death. — mace111

Beginners
★★★★★
My fifth time watching this film. I am moved by it every time. I recently lost my father so it was comforting to me and yet somehow refreshingly optimistic. Not perfect but Christopher Plumber is amazing! — Riv146

Avoid
★★★★
If you ever lived in New York, it is incumbent upon you to tell people that Woody Allen and Sex in the City do not represent that fine town. But when I lived in LA, it was full of these emotional half-strength people. Everything is kind of funny, kind of sad, kind of happy. This film does represent that. Its why I couldn't live in LA. There is no roar or shriek. Feelings are allowed to be easily moderated by ( sigh ) circumstance. Which this film would suggest, is the final arbiter of who we are and what we do. Its the triumph of the blue jeans people. Blue jeans; are supposed to imply a maverick but are the sign of acquiescence. Blue jeans blue, well, it just goes with everything don't you think? Lets make a pithy little line drawing about it with damp squib irony. Yech. — frinkle

Brilliantly subtle and captivating
★★★★★
Ewan McGregor is perfectly lovely and sad in this drama. Christopher Plummer is awesome and I've been a big fan of Goran Visnjic since his days on ER. Melanie Laurent is great! Rent it! — WendyB610

Insufferably slow and boring
★★★★
I am so surprised they can get money to make a movie as devoid of story as they did here. I kept waiting for the story to begin, but it never did, and of course the ending was just as cryptic as the rest. Super slow, I didn't know how I was going to get through it. I have no idea how it got a lot of good reviews. Do not rent! — weatherbuff

Mediocre at best
★★★★★
I was encouraged when I saw the other reviews and the rotten tomatos scores. However, this movie put me to sleep. It was SOOOO slow and kind of pointless. The girl and the guy were just plain weird, clearly broken people and the ending was completely unclear. I certainly wouldn't recommend it. — 383chargerfan

Overrated, Slow and Boring
★★★★
I get it. Mix a little love, gay pride, rom-com and death, and you get a great film. NOT. This is an overrated, slow moving and boring flick that will have you aching for Mission Impossible or even a good football game. The acting is mostly fine, although EM is mostly drab and superficial. Arthur the dog steals most scenes and is best at delivering one-liners. The predictable plot lines may not confuse, but they don't stir too many emotions either. All in all, it's a waste of time and an empty experience. — Allan2620

Amazing!
★★★★
Beginners is a movie that takes a long hard honest look at life! It's entertaining how the dog has subtitles! Ewan McGregor has grown so much as an actor in this role! Christopher Plummer tackles this very challenging role like a winner. I'm so excited that Mary Page Keller is included in the film! Page should get an Oscar nomination! I always enjoy watching her! My only problem is sometimes the Hal character rambles too much. — Frankystuff

One of my top films of 2011!!
★★★★★
Beginners is a funny, intelligent, insightful look at a father's (Christopher Plummer) coming out as gay in his mid-seventies after the death of his wife, and his impending (and inevitable) death from cancer, through the perspective of his son (Ewan McGregor) as he begins to fall in love with a girl (Melanie Laurent) and learns through all of it how to let people into his life. Oh, and there's also the Jack Russell he inherits from his father, who he talks to (and with, as the dog is subtitled!) and becomes part of him. A real gem of a film and not to be missed! — Great TVFan

Good
★★★★★
Very rare you come across a good movie such as this. It's so different than any other. — EvanWatkins

Beginners
★★★★
Very charming movie. Loved Christopher Plumber and Arthur the dog the most. Happy and sad at the same time. Sweet. — brndoghorse

Beautiful film on love and grief
★★★★★
This film was very sad, not a comedy at all. But found it more on what happens after you loose a parent. The main character has never found true love. Meets a women whom he starts to really care about. The dog in the movie is so good. He steals the movie. Watch it if you lost parent. It's quite a beautiful little film.5 stars!!! — linkgln

Excellent film
★★★★★
So wonderful!! Love this movie! Delicately created and wonderfully made! Watch it, watch it, watch it!! — Pink_glasses

Funtastic!!!
★★★★
Well done! Great screenplay and character development. — Wilton

Too arty and slow-moving
★★★★★
I don't know if it's me or if the reviews are wrong, but this is the second highly-reviewed movie I've bought recently that was a disappointment. The other one was "Amelie." I enjoy movies when they're done well, almost without regard to style, genre, or intellectual level. I've liked lots of "arty" movies, so thats not a problem. "Boring" is a problem. — Schriftsteller

Good film
★★★★★
I was teary eyed the whole way through. Enjoyable film, but the premise of not being able to settle down and committ - hit too close to home. — JJhovanHerr

A profound and enjoyable movie
★★★★
My whole family found this film to be moving and thought provoking. — RetroGamer360

Sad. Good, not great
★★★★
Interesting story. Good cast. Just makes you feel gloomy — Anitachichis

RallyCancerKid
★★★★★
Truly great — RallyCancerKid

Way way way
★★★★★
Way way overrated. — Drrrdfhh

Good
★★★★★
For such a bad year for movies this was pretty good — saraandoliver95

Cool
★★★★
Like like like — Avalio

So good.
★★★★★
My favorite movie this year for sure. — brooksey

Fantastic x 2
★★★★★
Both this movie and its soundtrack are fantastic. Clever and artistic all wrapped up in one enjoyable movie. I watched this movie twice in one day and bought the soundtrack, two things I never do! — Climbigher2

Here's the thing
★★★★★
I found it to be very pretentious and the film makes no effort to be good, the entire movie is highly dark ( both literally and physically, I mean they managed to make a fire works scene seem really dull) and you don't particularly like the main characters, besides Plummer who is fantastic in the film. It's a very artsy, weird film but the story is good and most of the performances are excellent but I found myself wondering after the film was through, 'did I enjoy that?' and I had no answer. Its like a French style drama with SOME comedic moments which will NOT make you slap your knee. It simulates real life and I think that's why it hasn't been that well received here in the US bc we Americans are so accustomed to big hollywood, escapist theatre (which in small doses ain't a bad thing!) that it does play a part into our regular film enjoyment. If you need a dose of reality go ahead and rent it bc for all it's weird, egotistical, pretentious, eccentricities, it IS pretty ok flick. But nothing you haven't seen in a Catherine Brelotte (sp?) film. Thanks for reading. — Pat Duff

30 minutes in and I turned it off
★★★★★
Was simply too slow and nothing keeping me from watching further — Michael206

Amazing
★★★★★
This was a fantastic movie. Nuff said. — bodangersloot

Great movie
★★★★
For everyone complaining that it's not funny and should not be labelled under comedy you are right. You were scammed out of your money by Hollywood hot shots who believe that a film about a young man overcoming the tragedy of his father's death by finding new joy and meaning in a new love is something that the average American doesn't want to see. Sadly they seem to be right. Its not melancholy it's life, not the Hollywood horsecrap shoved down your greedy throats so you can get a happy hard on and forget that beautiful and true films do exist and will enrich your life by revealing new perspectives and visions. — paintedturtle

Great Film!
★★★★★
After 15 minutes you can tell this movie came from the heart (not self-indulgent) and with a lot of passion. — Matt-SEO

If you want deep, yet depressing...
★★★★★
Ok so I watched this movie after watching Crazy, Stupid, Love so maybe it didn't have a chance-- but this is the type of movie that will put you to sleep. It jumps around a lot, and the characters are almost monotone throughout the whole thing. This is definitely a Woody Allen type flick. — RegencyFarms