Beginners review

An illustrator dives into a new relationship with an enigmatic girl whilst reflecting on his gay father’s death.

Ewan McGregor, his reliably dodgy American accent aside, is at the best he has been in a long time and Christopher Plummer, although barely in it, really, is also good, as you would expect. ER’s Goran Visnjic is utterly abysmal as his gay lover, though, and goes some distance towards spoiling every scene his gormless face appears in. In stark, sparky contrast, Mélanie Laurent lights up the screen with a charismatic and captivating performance, exhibiting her abilities in a way she was not really given the opportunity to in the likes of The Concert and Inglorious Basterds.

It is the relationship between McGregor and Laurent’s characters that is most compelling, in fact, the marketed-as-central gay dad plot being uninteresting and largely irrelevant, a failing on the part of the filmmakers. It is also verging on trying too hard to be quirky, helped along by a half-hearted attempt at “unusual” editing techniques. There remains plenty to admire, though, and Beginners is a largely charming, funny film worth watching.

3 out of 5

28th Jul 2011 | On IMDb