sabato 18 giugno 2011


Movies are like people.
Sometimes we meet somebody, and we feel a special connection to him/her. We feel like we talk the same language, we have the same thoughts, the same fears, and we can share feelings and experiences. Sometimes we go to the movies, and we find a film able to touch our souls using a common language, a similar way of imagining things, and conceiving this life. It is not every day, though. And this is why it is so special when it happens.
Yesterday night I went to see a "movie-friend": Beginners, by American film-maker Mike Mills (who, by the way, is married to one of my favourite artists in this world, the incredibly gorgeous and talended Miranda July).
It tells the story of Oliver, a 38 years old graphic artist, who's going through a very sad moment of his life: he just lost his father, Hal. While still in mourning, he met at a party the beautiful and bizarre French actress Anna, with whom he fell in love. Oliver's head is plenty of memories of his father and mother (who died 5 years before his dad). After his mum died, Hal, at the age of 75, made his coming out, declaring he’s been gay his whole life. Oliver witnesses his father's new life with a mixture of joy and disbelief: Hal has a younger boy-friend, an intense social life, he's surrounded by new friends and supports many activities related to the gay cause. For Oliver, who was used to see him as a quite and sad man, this is a revelation. Few years afterwards, though, Hal finds out to have a cancer stage 4 and he soon dies. Oliver is left with a lovely (and talking!) dog, Arthur, a big and empty house, and the desire - for the very first time in his life - to have a happy and possibly lasting relationship.
When I read that this was the real story of Mills, I wasn’t surprised at all. This movie has a very particular and personal touch, which permeates every scene and influences its style and its pitch. The film-maker achieves here to create something quite rare on screen: to talk about really heavy stuff (illness, death, wrong marriages, sexual identity, depression, difficulties inside families and difficulties in relationships) in an incredibly light, funny and intelligent way. We instantly feel close to Oliver’s character and his sad but amusing attitude towards life: the introduction of his house to Arthur, his dad’s dog, is one of the most surreal scenes ever. Oliver seems constantly amazed by what human existence is able to offer, in the bad and in the good sense, and isn’t this what we all experience every day?
Mills has been blessed by the most wonderful cast: Ewan MacGregor is like the good wine, the older the better, and at each new movie demonstrates there is no limit to the range of roles he can (incredibly well) play. Sweet, shy and irresistible as the gay partner of Jim Carrey in I love you, Phillip Morris, lost and scared in the Polanski’s masterpiece The Ghost Writer and the king of subtlety in this one: he is always more than perfect, never overacting, with a glimpse of Jacques Tati in his manner and his look. Mélanie Laurent, after her exploit in Inglorious Basterds by Tarantino, proves to make the right choices for her international career and she is simply lovely in this movie, while Christopher Plummer, as Hal, is simply to die for. What a great, fantastic, amazing actor he is. Born in Toronto in 1929, Plummer has been a stage actor more than a screen actor, but every time I see him in a film I wonder why he is not more famous than he is. For this role, I hope he will be covered with prizes. But it is impossible not to mention another important actor: Arthur, the dog. More human than a human being, thanks to the subtitles he even has a voice (but he admits to know not more than 150 words!). The dialogues between him and Oliver are so cute that you just want to have the same at home.
Beginners leaves you with the nice feeling that it is never too late to start a new life. We maybe need to be brave (and crazy) enough to face the challenges that life is imposing on us. Anything can help: a sad event, the right person, a talking dog, a blog.
Just never forget: life is what you make of it! 

4 commenti:

  1. A love story, a true one, a beautiful film!

  2. I'm going to watch this movie when it stops being a "hot topic", but after a while, when things cool down.

  3. Don't miss it, Olga, it's really nice!


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