This is a very quiet, leisurely-paced film told from the point of view of Oliver (Ewan McGregor) whose father (Christopher Plummer) has recently died and who meets an intriguing new woman, Anna (Melanie Laurent), at a costume party, causing him to reflect on love and relationships, and why he always leaves them.
After having lost his wife, Oliver's father admitted he was gay and set about living the life he'd always suppressed, leaving Oliver with ambivalent feelings about relationships and life; a father who lived with vigor and a mother who accepted the way her life turned out. I loved the quirky mother character, tho if she were my mother I'd have put myself up for adoption.
Laurent is an amazing actor who inhabits her characters with such warmth and appeal. It's easy to understand why Oliver falls in love with her (I actually did, myself) altho not quite so easy to understand it from her point of view. He's a little too sad and serious but of course appealing.
It's a sweet, poignant, sometimes funny film. There's a cute device with a dog who has subtitled thoughts that Oliver understands. Clever, and who can resist a Jack Russel terrier cocking its head at you?
Four stars out of five for Beginners.
(Sorry, Woz, next time I'll see The Tree 0f Life.)