Beginners

The Nominations:

  • Actor in a Supporting Role: Christopher Plummer

The Black-and-White:

A review by spacedcowboy:

Since the Academy gave this only one nomination (a decision, I’ll admit, I support), I’ll focus most of my comments on that.

Synopsis from imdb.com:

It’s 2003. Thirty-eight year old graphic artist Oliver Fields has just lost his father Hal Fields to cancer, after Oliver’s mother Georgia Fields passed away five years earlier. Oliver is naturally a sullen man due to his growing up relationship with his parents (his mother who had a unique view on life) and watching his parents’ cordial but somewhat distant relationship with each other, but is more so now because of his personal family loss. Oliver embarks on a relationship with Anna, a French actress. Oliver is hoping that his re-energized relationship with Hal following Georgia’s death and Hal’s new outlook on life during that time will show Oliver how to act in a loving relationship. After Georgia’s death, Hal came out of the closet and began to live with a joie de vivre that did not exist before, which included an open relationship with a much younger man named Andy…

Overall, this is a very pleasant, well-executed and enjoyable movie. It’s coming-of-age tale for a middle-aged man (Oliver, played solidly by Ewan McGregor) and a coming-to-terms tale for Hal (Christopher Plummer) who comes out late in life. The film treks along at a decent pace, never fully engrossing us, but never turning us off either. It’s a fine, good film.

There are two aspects worth remarks:

First, Christopher Plummer was a joy – Hal had energy, joy, wonder, excitement, humor and was the source of all energy in this film. I’ve heard Christopher Plummer say on the talk-show circuit that this movie was “effortless” for him. I think that’s true. He seems to have this character and this story in his bones and he delivered a performance that was joyful and delightful to behold. The nomination is well-deserved, as is, I expect, his win in this category.

The second thing I note is the performance of Ewan McGregor. After seeing him first in Trainspotting, I thought that he must certainly be the next-great actor of our generation. He reinforced this with a terrific turn in Moulin Rouge. However now I counterbalance this with a less than overwhelming performance in Beginners, along with some … questionable performances in the Star Wars trilogy, Black Hawk Down and a number of forgettable movies. I’m not sure what I think. He is the enigma of my generation, perhaps, and my internal jury is out as to his true acting ability.

In any case, congratulations to Captain Von Trapp – for not much longer now will you be known as “the finest actor of the post-World War II period to fail to get an Oscar nod.” Bravo.

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