Seventy-five-year-old Hal (Christopher Plummer), who's already died of cancer when this movie begins, tells his son Oliver (Ewan McGregor) that he's gay. But the story – which director Mike Mills based on his dad's life – is as much Oliver's as Hal's. The parallels between their lives become evident when Oliver meets budding actress Anna (Mélanie Laurent). As their relationship develops, Hal's post-coming-out tale unspools in flashback. Beginners never pushes its issues. In fact, it doesn't push much. It tells the stories of two men: their similarities, their differences, their openness, their shutting down of emotions. Still, the movie doesn't quite connect, despite a few sweet moments and subtle, loving performances by both McGregor and Plummer, who make the most of the occasionally flimsy material. There are some affecting scenes, but they don't add up to much. For a movie about old beginnings, new beginnings, and endings, there isn't a whole lot happening in the middle.
Director: Mike Mills
Writer: Mike Mills
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Mélanie Laurent, Christopher Plummer, Goran Visnjic, Bill Oberst Jr., Mary Page Keller, China Shavers, Kai Lennox, Jodi Long and Catherine McGoohan