Movie Review: Beginners

January 11, 2012

Beginners (2011)
105 minutes
Rated – R
Directed by Mike Mills
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent

Grade:  A-

Imagine growing up with parents who loved each other very much, but as a kid you knew that something was wrong. Then after 38 years of marriage, your mother passes away and your father finally reveals the truth: he’s gay. Your father is 75 years old, but still wants to pursue in a homosexual lifestyle and since he understands his time is limited, quickly finds a boyfriend who is roughly as old as you are now. Your father dies in four years.

There’s no surprise that Oliver (McGregor) would be a bit damaged from the avalanche of critical events and information he has recently been presented, and this is what Beginners is all about. The film jumps between three timelines: Oliver’s memory of his parents, the years between when Oliver’s mother and father passes away, and the present. The flashbacks remind and warn Oliver of his current situation, that he’s always been alone and incapable of committing to a relationship.

Then he meets Anna (Laurent) and temporarily his world changes. She is extremely unique, being beautiful and strange simultaneously, and the two fall for each other. Even though the pace of their relationship is of something from romantic comedies, it still captures a genuine reality of these two individuals struggling through their lonely lives.

Christopher Plummer takes on the role as Hal, Oliver’s father, with sincerity. He loves to throw parties and engages in his gay pride openly. Even though he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, he lived in a relieved state that he finally confessed to his sexuality. There’s no doubt that Hal falls in love with his partner, Andy, and seeing it gives Oliver much pain. But what Hal was trying to prove to amend with his son was that it’s never too late to start over.

That is something that Oliver fights within himself while his relationship with Anna moves forward. In a very delicate conversation while both lie still in bed, they discuss their habits of always leaving. Anna leaves because of her profession as an actor, but Oliver leaves because of his constant doubt that what he sees is what he can believe.

This excellent family drama relies on a Jack Russell terrior as a voice of reason through Oliver’s painful process to recover. That’s just one of the quirky style decisions that this film contains, all of them that I loved. While Beginners has moments that are wrapped up way too neatly, it’s still a thought-provoking, indie gem with themes that anyone can apply to their own lives.


Taylor Swift Offered Role in Les Miserables

January 11, 2012


My nightmare is now becoming a reality. Taylor Swift has been reportedly offered the role of Eponine in the upcoming feature musical, Les Miserables. I feel like my best friend has just driven his car through the front door of my house, damaging everything temporarily until I can fix the hole in my home. For the record, I absolutely love the Broadway production of Les Mis and when I heard that Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, John Adams) was directing an adaptation of Les Mis, I couldn’t have been happier. Then to hear that the movie would include a cast of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, etc. I got even more excited because those are not only very talented actors, but they can sing extremely well.

The path to the December 2012 release was looking very impressive until I read the headlines that Taylor Swift was offered the role of Eponine, beating out other actresses who auditioned like Lea Michele (Glee), Evan Rachel Wood (Across the Universe) and Scarlett Johansson. My initial reaction was a blur of expletives that my co-worker didn’t seem too fond of, but then my anger quickly turned into confusion. I cannot believe the idea that teen-idol Taylor Swift out-auditioned the other three actresses, whom all have acted and in my honest opinion, can sing significantly better than Taylor Swift. So what’s the deal? Were the casting directors thinking about how they could expand their viewership to the twelve-year-old girls who swoon over Swift? Would they sacrifice the potential of this highly anticipated musical just for a fan-base to flood the theaters? I’m guessing they would.

But enough of my ranting. Here are some other comments I’ve stumbled upon through my blog-surfing:

I think it is a terrible idea. I have seen the broadway musical a few times and would never see Taylor Swift in this role. Putting her in the role of Eponine actually deters me from seeing this film. Please, please, please reconsider an actress with the right voice and acting experience.

She can barely hit all the notes in her own songs. So for Taylor to even attempt to sing live on set the amazing songs of Les Mis is just not going to work and I don’t know what the hell casting and the director was thinking. Stunt casting at its worst.

her voice is completely wrong for this part and her so called acting in “Valentines Day” was horrendous and I think that she will completely butcher this part in what could have been an amazing movie

You’ve GOT to be kidding. Out of all of the actresses who can sing, they pick Taylor Swift?! Her voice is too country, and her acting is dismal. There is no WAY she can pull off “On My Own” with the gusto and emotion needed for the role. I was going to pay to see this movie, but I think I’ll wait for it to come out on Netflix now. I’m disgusted.

This is a star-studded cast with incredible names attached and of ALL PEOPLE in the world, they want Taylor Swift?!?! *confused on so many levels*

She is going to destroy the role. And not in a good way.

Crank up the Auto-Tune.

Okay I’m I the only one who’s angry about this?? I love her but oh hell to the no. She beat Lea Michelle for the role??? No. Just no. She can not pull of that role if she died trying. :[ This is depressing.

And the comments go on and on and on. All I can hope for now is that Swift is too busy touring or writing another break-up song for her to actually devote a few months to the role. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. And even if Swift accepts the role, I still have faith in Tom Hooper to pull off the movie.

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