Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Touching gay-themed dramedy about love and loss.

Movie R 2011 105 minutes
Beginners Poster Image

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BEGINNERS somehow manages to be playfully quirky, with hilariously deadpan dialogue and many cute moments. And at the same time, it's absolutely heartfelt, unafraid to delve into the aching emotional territories of love, loss, and broken hearts. Writer/director Mike Mills (Thumbsucker) based this movie on his own father's story, although it's clearly highly fictionalized, much to the movie's benefit.

A gimmick like the "talking" dog (he simply looks at another character and subtitles provide his dialogue) could have been annoying, but it actually strikes just the right tone, coming to the movie's rescue just before collapsing into sadness. The chemistry between characters is spot-on, and Mills isn't afraid to go in close. Beginners is a structured movie, but it allows for messiness within the structure; it's open-hearted but hilariously self-effacing.

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