Watching “Beginners” at any age.


Beginners directed by Mike Mills

“People like us, half of them think it will never work out. The other half believe in magic.” Anna (Played by Melenie Laurent)

Beginners is a movie directed by Mike Mills about a simple story filled with complicated emotions told quite simply. The story began with Oliver (Played by Ewan McGregor) clearing up the apartment of his recently deceased father, Hal (Played by Christopher Plummer). And he remembered his father coming out to him at 75 years out after the death of his mother that he was gay and then he had contracted cancer and then he died. And Olivier inherited Arthur, his father’s dog.

Throughout the movie, we learnt about Hal’s last days folded into a developing love story between Oliver and Anna whom had met at a party. And all this while he drew the “history of sadness” for his clients. The scenes of sadness, happiness, emptiness, holding up, falling apart, silence, detachment intertwined to form a sublime bitter sweet formula.

Olivier had 4 relationships before Anna that he had let them fall apart. Caring for his dying father was a long preparation for loss. But his father was 75, declared gay, looking for love, took out advertisements, socialized, went to parties, discovered house music. Oliver loving Anna seemed to be a long anticipation for loss. They had fun, they went out, they talked about their lives through play-acting. The dog, Arthur had more insightful lines (yes, the dog’s thoughts are subtitled).

If the world is made up of 2 kinds of people, the ones who believe it won’t work out and the ones who believe in magic, Oliver and Anna seemed to have fallen through the cracks to form the third kind. The kind who believes in magic in other’s lives and believes it won’t out for them. Olivier was preparing so long for the imminent loss of his father to cancer that holding on to someone seems counter intuitive. Quite frankly, wouldn’t we be scare like him?

By contrast, Hal found and lost love and life began after 75 for him. I wonder how he found the courage and the skills to do it. Just a character in a movie, you’d say. But don’t we hear of stories like these? People who found love at any age; people who are still fighting for gay rights to marriage? New York has just announced legalizing gay marriages. For those who fought, magic has happened.

So, we have to choose don’t we? Choose to believe in magic or not. I’m belong to the third population. Magic happened everyday around me for my friends. They found love, lost love and found love again. I celebrate their love, their marriage, say a prayer for their happiness to be forever. I watched them get pregnant, watch their kids grow up. But I haven’t quite figured it out yet, how it will work out for me. Where’s my magic? So yes, in my 30s like, Olivier and Anna, we are beginners. Where’s the manual?

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