Monday, February 20, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: Beginners

Beginners
Running Time: 105 minutes
Nominations: 1 (Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer)
Availability in the US: On DVD and Blu-ray
MPAA: Rated R for language and some sexual content

Oliver Fields's (Ewan McGregor) life is turned upside-down when he learns his aging father Hal (Christopher Plummer) is homosexual and is suffering from terminal cancer. The film switches between Oliver dealing with the new realities of his father's life and Oliver some time later coping with his father's passing.

Ewan McGregor shows impressive range in this sad but sweet tale, but Christopher Plummer is truly incredible. Hal has spent his entire life living a lie and, a mere five years after the death of his wife, learns he is also dying. Coming to terms with both his mortality and his sexuality at once can't be easy, and Hal manages to make us laugh and cry in the process. From taking on a much-younger lover to hiding his illness from that lover, Plummer's portrayal is both understated and heart-wrenching.

Surprisingly, Christopher Plummer has never won an Oscar. Even more surprisingly, perhaps, until two years ago—when he earned a nod for the almost unwatchable The Last Station—he had never even been nominated. None of that matters now, however, as one of the most underappreciated actors of his generation is finally going to get his due. Plummer has won every major award this season and looks to be the closest thing to a shoo-in at this year's Oscars.

Grade: B

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