Jan 14, 2012

Beginners - A beautiful movie by Mike Mills

I recently watched the movie "Beginners" written as a semi auto bio piece by Mike Mills.

Ewan McGregor plays the role of a deeply effected son who witnessed the absence of affection and connection between his parents during his upbringing.

Christopher Plummer steals the show playing the part of the father who after 45 years of marriage and his wife's passing, informs his son that he is Gay. He then goes on to celebrate life, love and sensual pleasures with a younger man. A permanent smile is affixed to his face and his happiness is infectious.

In a sense, he becomes a "Beginner" living his life as a fresh start at the tender age of 75.

One of the many questions the movie asks is...

"How do you measure someone else's sorrow?"

My response (cause it's my Blog):

"You don't"

But with empathy, an open non judgmental attitude and a good hard look into someones eyes, you can at least try.

It's also a movie about doing what you have to do even if it means sacrificing your life at a time when you believe it will go on forever and then realizing that you will never be able to catch up because life does not go on forever.

There's a Jack Russel Terrier (that's a dog) named Arthur who plays a significant role almost carrying on the spirit of the father once he has gone and at some points in the movie he simultaneously becomes a muse for all of the characters.

Sadly, although the son is by his fathers side through treatments, medical appointments, pill regimes and inevitably during home hospice, his father dies in his sleep over night. The son never gets to say goodbye.

Which makes me think, do we really need to say goodbye? Or do we just need to make sure that they know we love them every day of their lives while they are still alive?

I love this movie because it's about so many things. It's about someone who never stops trying. It's about aging and losing our inhibitions and coming to terms with gray hair, aching bones, brown spots on our faces and being able to say - "You know what? Considering all I've been through, I really don't look that bad."

In one scene, the father is hosting one of many parties and although he is dying of Cancer he tells his guests he has turned a corner and is doing well. When his son confronts him:

"You aren't cured, you have Stage 4 Cancer - there is no Stage 5", to which the the father replies:

"That just means there were 3 other stages that came before."

I can tell you this, just when you think you are starting to understand where the son and father are coming from, you sit back and realize its a place you have never been.

But that's okay because in the END - we are all BEGINNERS.

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