Is it ever too late to start over?

So, what would you do if your father came out of the closet at the age of 75 years old? Well, if you’re writer/director Mike Mills, you make a movie about it. And while this is might sound like some cheap shot of exploiting the oppression that his father endured for so many years…it’s not. It is anything but that. Like with his other films, MillsBeginners showcases the charm and emotional stakes of the everyday people, taking his very personal story and making it universal without much effort.

"a sweet little romantic comedy with a lot of heart that is nothing short of poignant at many moments"

It's 2003. Oliver (Ewan McGregor) is 38 and a graphic designer. Following the death of his father, he reflects on his life. He has never seemed to have a meaningful romantic relationship in his life, but his parents were married for about 40 years before the death of his mother, Georgina (Mary Page Keller), a few years prior. But despite that fact, some months after Georgina’s death, Oliver’s father, Hal (Christopher Plummer), reveals something surprising: he is gay and has been his whole life. Over the next few years, Oliver and Hal grow closer while Hal cheerfully embraces the life he has always wanted to live as an openly gay man: going to gay clubs, wearing gay pride colors, and most importantly, finding love with his boyfriend named Andy (Goran Višnjić). And not even cancer the cancer that comes to kill Hal slows him down from living is few liberated years to the fullest.

Back in 2003, having watched (and perhaps unknowingly admired) his father living a new life until the day of his death, Oliver’s reflections are shown in flashbacks of time spent taking care of his sick father and also the time he spent with his disillusioned mother during his childhood. He also comes to reflect on his own relationship failures, especially after he meets and falls in love with the charming French actress Anna (Mélanie Laurent) at a party. Both have a habit of running away. Both are afraid commitment. But perhaps they can learn to change together.Beginners

Interweaving three different timelines throughout the film, Mills puts the past and the present head-to-head in Beginners. How much influence does one’s past have on their present and even their future? How does one’s view of their own past alter as time changes? Perhaps what Beginners seems to suggest is that people can always have time to change, no matter their age. And what is interesting about this film is the absence of a concrete villain. The only villain is the past, or rather past selves. Hal’s marriage with Georgina is revealed to have unfolded more like a business agreement because of how gay people were viewed and reprimanded in the past. Both Oliver and Anna’s past struggles with commitment cause much trepidation and anxiety when they try to progress into something serious. No one is out to get anyone, but they all need to come to terms with who they really are.

And all performances by the cast from the main stars to supporting cast and even Arthur the dog (who makes his own perspective known in a hilarious fashion) all nail the nuances and naturalistic dialogue that this film thrives on. McGregor and Laurent are charming, endearing, and even a little frustrating (in a good way) as their characters try to push past their imperfections. And Plummer, always masterful, is just a treat to watch in a role filled with energy, joy, and determination.

Beginners is a sweet little romantic comedy with a lot of heart that is nothing short of poignant at many moments. And by the end, the audience is left with a cheerful feeling and optimism about life.

5/5 stars



Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Universal Studios
Available on Blu-ray
- July 26, 2022
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish DTS 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Inspired by writer/director Mike Mills’ own father, Beginners is an uplifting comedy about how funny and transformative life can be. When graphic designer Oliver (Ewan McGregor) meets free-spirited Anna (Mélanie Laurent) shortly after his father (Christopher Plummer) has passed away. Oliver realizes just how much of a beginner he is when it comes to long-lasting romantic love. Memories of his father, who, following the death of his wife of 45 years, came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized, and wonderfully tumultuous gay life, encourage Oliver to open himself up to the potential of a true relationship.


Presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the 1080p High-Definition transfer highlights cinematographer Kasper Tuxen’s simplistic and minimalistic photography style that is perfect for such a personal film.


The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track mixes the dialogue, score, and sound effects extremely well. While not a film that does not perhaps utilizes all of the channels to their maximum potential, it nonetheless offers a pleasant and clear audio experience.


The extra features are few but they are delightful and insightful as the film itself is with Mike Mills at the center of all of what is included.


  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Mike Mills

Special Features:

  • A Short Film About Making Beginners
  • Beginners Promo

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4.5/5 stars

Film Details


MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
104 mins
: Mike Mills
Mike Mills
Ewan McGregor; Christopher Plummer; Mélanie Laurent
: Comedy | Romance
This is what love feels like.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You can stay in the same place and still find ways to leave people."
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 3, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 24, 2022.
Synopsis: A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer and that he has a young male lover.