It might have been a longer than expected wait for Mike Mills’ sophomore narrative feature film to arrive — but now after having just seen the world premiere screening I’d note that: it was worth the wait. Mills’ last pic, was a docu focusing on the pill popping nation of Japan – a sort of a companion film to prescription drug addiction featured in his debut film, 2005’s Thumbsucker. With Beginners, we get high on love, doped up with melancholy and are intravenously connected to a film that is pleasantly soft, authentic and comes without pretension.
You won’t need to read the press notes to see that there’s a lot of Mills’ own DNA in this one. Themes of love, death, reconciliation with the past and in the present, Mills draws connecting lines in a figurative, historical and free hand drafting sense with strong indications that Christopher Plummer’s character’s late in life metamorphosis and departure from this earth is directly related to the experience that Mills felt first hand. Film’s strong suit is also found in the complex nature of McGregor’s character — early childhood sequences underline how detached he was during his childhood, and in an adult world setting, the two pivotal characters in Oliver’s life, manage to bring forth a more compassionate side in this “frigid” soon to be 40-something adult that was always there. A thoughtful small gem with a big heart, this will naturally win any cinephile over.
Yesterday night at the Elgin, was the world preem for the film and the intro below with a giddy audience includes Mills, Mélanie Laurent and Christopher Plummer minus McGregor, who is on the set of Lasse Hallström’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.