Monday, 1 August 2011

Film Review - Beginners

God, this was dull.

Technically, it's not a bad film. The actors do a good job, the music matches the tone, it's well shot and goes at a pace that feels natural and unrushed. There are charming moments, amusing moments and touching moments. The structure of the story jumps about, yet remains remarkably clear. It's a sentimental piece, made to appeal to the emotions.

This is the story of Oliver, a man whose dad has just died. After his mum died a few years prior, his dad came out to him and got a boyfriend. His parents' forty-four year long relationship was fraught with problems, and the idea of identity is one of the keys here. Loneliness, too, and he befriends his dad's snarky dog that can't stand to be without him. At a party he meets an actress, and the two fall, predictably, in love. Predictable plotlines and cliched hijacks ensue.

There is a brooding sense of self-importance about this movie, and the loneliness the protagonist feels is portrayed by long solitary shots. The pretention this movie treats the subject matter with, however, is juvenile - this is an alienated thirteen year old's deviant art account, someone obsessed with their own perceived artistry and wanting to share this new emotion they've invented: sadness. Oh, how poetic are his trials!

This is the movie's main problem: it takes itself too seriously and tries to lend a weight to the main character's dull angstings. The characters are self-absorbed and lack energy, what plot there is is wearyingly predictable and the movie lacks anything that makes it interesting or different. Chuck in a plodding pace and you have an insipid, uninspired and monotonous movie that I really regret giving my money.

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