For those who ask, where are the men in the quirkyalone movement? Here’s a gorgeous, moving movie featuring a male quirkyalone lead (Ewan McGregor, beautifully vulnerable in the movie himself). Beginners weaves together two big qs: quirkyaloneness and queerness.
Oliver is 38 and has spent the last few years caring for his father who announced he was gay after Oliver’s mother died. The movie flashes back to Oliver’s childhood throughout the film. Oliver never believed his parents were really in love, and consequently never really fully believed in love for himself.
You could say it’s a fear-of-commitment story, but that would be too simple a shorthand. Oliver is afraid of slipping into a passionless domesticity driven by the model that he saw growing up. The mother figure is tragic: so bursting with life and quirkyness, but she was never going to get the passion she wanted from her husband (and she knew he was gay). I loved the scene where Ewan and his new love recognize each other as “the same”–both leavers. This is no romantic comedy with an easy resolution. We get to see Oliver and Anna in love, and at the same time, riding out hard moments, battling out their sense that “this is not the way I was supposed to feel.” And if it’s not the way it was “supposed to feel” in the moment, does that mean end it? Deliciously real. See it!