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Movie Review: Beginners

Alternate Title: Baby Steps

Story: This is a adult film. It is smart, funny and sweet. The characters grow on you with each passing frame. Written and directed by Mike Mills (Thumbsucker) it is a tale of Oliver, a 38 year old man who seems to be 'coming of age'.

The story is told by Oliver in both real time and via past events. This non-linear framing is not at all distracting. If anything - it makes for better cinema. Following Oliver's mother's death his father informs him that after 45 years of marriage he is coming out of the closet at age 75. We watch Hal (Oliver's Dad) through flashbacks as he indulges his now, open self, with grace, fun and abandon.

From the first scenes we know that Hal dies and Oliver inherits a scene stealing Jack Russell terrier names Arthur, along with one confused psyche.

This is a film about relationships - all types of relationships. Fathers and sons, mothers and sons, men and women and of course man and dog. How Oliver grows up and attempts to establish a relationship with a woman is just one part of this tender movie.

Some of my favorite parts involve graphic art, clever interludes, graffiti and other surprising touches that lighten the load.

Do yourself a favor this summer an find this film. You will not regret it.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXUFUp6vsxg

Acting: Ewan McGregor as Oliver, has one of those puppy dog faces that the camera loves. He worked for me. Christopher Plummer as Hal, was fabulous. Mélanie Laurent as Anna, Oliver's love interest is beautiful and talented. Goran Visnjic as Andy was great as was Mary Page Keller as Oliver's mother, Georgia.

Predilection: I like Ewan McGregor.

Trivia: French actress, Melanie Laurent is best known for her role as a Jewess in Inglourious Basterds. She also plays a Jewess in this film. She is, in fact, Jewish, and has both Ashkenazi and Tunisian Sephardic ancestry. A grandfather survived deportation by the Nazis.

Left-Handedness: Melanie Laurent is a lefty.

Critters: Arthur the dog is played by Cosmo. He was sensational.

Sex Spectrum: There are several bedroom scenes. Tender 'after' moments.

Blatant Product Placement: Apple and Staples.

Opening Titles: None - all titles are at the end.

Visual Art: Terrific graphics throughout and some very funny scenes that take place in an art museum.

Theater Audience: About 10 other people on an early Father's Day morning. We heard some annoying loud music every now and then that seemed to be coming from another theater. It was very distracting. Upon leaving the theater I spoke to the manager. He explained that a church group uses one of the theaters every Sunday morning and that was the music we heard. Note to self: do not go to this theater on an early Sunday morning. He gave us two free passes for future shows.

Weather: Not a factor

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: Paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: I shed a tear near the end.

Oscar Worthy: Yes. Christopher Plummer was worthy.

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen

Length: 105 minutes.