Beginners: A Gay Old Time
(Editor's note: We mistakenly ran a full review of Beginners in last week's issue, though the film opens this Friday at the Magnolia. To read the complete review, visit www.dallasobserver.com.)
Playing an emotionally asphyxiated illustrator whose cancer-stricken dad comes out of the closet at age 75, Ewan McGregor looks positively yummy in this gay-is-OK dramedy from the distributor that brought us The Kids Are All Right. In fact, Beginners, a semi-autobiographical movie by SoCal skater-boy-turned-graphic-designer-and-filmmaker Mike Mills, has no shortage of the adorable. There's a Jack Russell terrier that speaks in subtitles, a French pixie who doesn't speak at all because she has laryngitis (which eventually gives way to an ah-dor-aw-blah accent) and a scene in which the artist and the pixie (Melanie Laurent) go roller-skating with the dog—in an apartment building hallway, yet! Dying old Dad (Christopher Plummer) is cute, too, hosting a party for his new gay friends where they all watch The Times of Harvey Milk. Beginners might sound insufferable, but it isn't—or at least not completely. Mills' second feature (after Thumbsucker) has way too many quirks for its own good, but it works—less as the tale of a hip oldster enjoying a much-younger boyfriend (Goran Visnjic) en route to the cemetery than as the story of an artist who, in his own way, has only begun to come out.
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