Life will throw a lot at you. We all know this, but we don’t always believe it. I am reminded by Mike Mills’s Beginners that we need to embrace everything thrown at us and realize that every ending is a new beginning.
Ewan McGregor’s (The Impossible) character (Oliver) is defined by the history of sadness he creates for a client’s album cover. His mother dies followed by his father coming out as being gay, causing Oliver to feel that the love he saw in the relationship of his parents to be a lie. To top things off, shortly after coming out, his father (Christopher Plummer, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is diagnosed with cancer and dies.
At a high level, director Mills is basically saying that people deal with a lot of shit. Life isn’t fair. That’s guaranteed, but that does not mean that life has to be miserable. Life is what you make it.
I sometimes joke with my friends about Oliver’s love life alining with mine. This may be because I would like to look at myself as Ewan McGregor, or its because I have similar beliefs with his character. Without being too transparent, one of my favorite moments of the film is when Oliver says, “Before Anna, I had four serious relationships… I let all of them fall apart.” This is said over a montage of Oliver’s creation of his own history of sadness.
Going along with the theme of re-birthing happiness through the pain and cynicism of life, Oliver’s girl friend (Anna) played by Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Bastards) says, “People like us…half of them think that things will never work out…the other half believe in magic.”
Every time I see this movie I love it more and more. It is definitely a movie that gets better with age and expresses the realism of life so well. At the end I always ask myself two questions: “What’s next?” and do I believe in magic? Most of the time the answers are: “idk”
By: Jonny Havey | Editor-in-Chief