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Beginners Poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Mike Mills
Produced by
  • Leslie Urdang
  • Dean Vanech
  • Miranda de Pencier
  • Lars Knudsen
  • Jay Van Hoy
Written by Mike Mills
Music by
Cinematography Kasper Tuxen
Edited by Olivier Bugge Coutté
Distributed by Focus Features
Release date
  • September 11, 2010 (2010-09-11) (TIFF)
  • June 3, 2011 (2011-06-03) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3.2 million[2]
Box office $14.3 million[2]

Beginners is a 2010 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Mike Mills. It tells the story of Oliver, a man reflecting on the life and death of his father, Hal, while trying to forge a new romantic relationship with a woman, Anna, dealing with father issues of her own. The film is based on the true-life coming out of Mills's father at the age of 75, five years before his death.[3]

Beginners premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, where the Los Angeles Times heralded it as a "heady, heartfelt film" with a cast who have "a strong sense of responsibility to their real-world counterparts".[4] Christopher Plummer received numerous accolades, including the 2011 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his performance.


The film is structured as a series of interconnected flashbacks. Following the death of his father Hal from cancer, Oliver reflects on their relationship during the five years since the death of Oliver's mother, Georgia. Shortly after her death, Hal came out to his son and began exploring life as an openly gay man. He becomes active in the gay community, finds love with a much younger man and becomes more honest with himself and with his son. As a result, Oliver and Hal become closer during this time. Shortly after Hal's death, Oliver meets Anna, a French actress, at a party. Inspired by his father's attitude towards the end of his life and their relationship, Oliver decides to pursue a romance with her.

Main cast[edit]


With cinematography by Kasper Tuxen, Beginners was filmed using the Red One digital camera.[5] Much of the film is autobiographical, and is based on director Mike Mills's experiences after his own father came out of the closet following his mother’s death.[6]

The "Siedem Razy Kobieta" poster on the wall in Oliver's dining room is from the Polish language version of the 1967 Shirley MacLaine film Woman Times Seven.


The film has received positive reviews upon release. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 84% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on 147 reviews with a "Certified Fresh" rating, having an average score of 7.3/10. The site's consensus states: "Wearing its twee heart on its sleeve, Beginners explores the depths of modern, multi-generational romance with wit and depth."[7] At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, Beginners received an average score of 81, based on 36 reviews, described as "universal acclaim".[8] Calvin Wilson from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote, "A lovably quirky comedy-drama with a rhythm all its own." [6] Diego Costa from Slant Magazine wrote, "One of the most distinct pleasures of Beginners is the way it puts together fragments of someone’s life — presumably the filmmaker’s, although little does it matter — with humility, and without vying for some complete whole." [6] Lisa Schwarzbaum from Entertainment Weekly wrote, "The movie darts, dreams, and sometimes seems to dance. The great Plummer, meanwhile, creates an inspiring, fully rounded man in late bloom, and McGregor responds with a performance to match."[6]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, saying, "It's a hopeful fable with deep optimism and a cheerful style that kids itself."[9] Peter Debruge from Variety said the film is "deeply poignant and disarmingly personal".[10]


Beginners won the 2011 Gotham Award for Best Feature, shared with The Tree of Life.[11] Christopher Plummer won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture 2012, and the Denver Film Critics Society Award, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, the National Board of Review Award and the Online Film Critics Award, all for Best Supporting Actor.[12]

The film was nominated for the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor (Christopher Plummer)[13] and was also nominated for Independent Spirit Awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Male.[14] At the 84th Academy Awards, Plummer won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.[15]


  1. ^ "Beginners (15)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  2. ^ a b Beginners at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ Bradshaw, James (2011-09-10). "Beginners: A late dash out of the close". The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  4. ^ Olsen, Mark (2011-09-05). "Beginners has a piece of Mike Mills' soul". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  5. ^ Dargis, Manohla (2011-06-02). "Beginners, With Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor — Review". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ a b c d Alexander Ryll. "Essential Gay Themed Films To Watch, Beginners". Gay Essential. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "Beginners". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Beginners". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (2011-06-08). "Beginners". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  10. ^ Variety, September 12, 2010: Review: ‘Beginners’ Relinked 2014-06-25
  11. ^ Szalai, Georg (November 28, 2011). "Gotham Awards 2011: 'Tree of Life', 'Beginners' Tie for Best Feature". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  12. ^ Cangialosi, Jason (January 11, 2012). "Denver Film Critics Society Announces 2012 Award Winners". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Film Independent Spirit Awards Home - Film Independent" (PDF). 
  15. ^ "Nominees and Winners for the 84th Academy Awards". Academy Awards of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars). Retrieved 21 February 2012. 

External links[edit]