Hal (Canadian actor Christopher Plummer) comes out to his son Oliver (Ewan McGregor) about his sexual identity and his health in the film Beginners.

Hal (Canadian actor Christopher Plummer) comes out to his son Oliver (Ewan McGregor) about his sexual identity and his health in the film Beginners.

Film about starting over stars acting legend

For its final film of the summer season, the Vernon Film Society brings Beginners to the Town Theatre screen Monday.

For its final film of the summer season, the Vernon Film Society brings Beginners to the Town Theatre screen Monday.

How would you react if your 75-year-old father suddenly announces that’s he’s gay, has been all his adult life, and that he has just been diagnosed with cancer?

That’s the situation that Oliver (Ewan McGregor, Ghost Writer) finds himself in, in this semi-autobiographical story by writer-director Mike Mills.

While the father, Hal (Christopher Plummer, The Last Station), celebrates coming out of the closet with a new wardrobe, a new boyfriend, and a new outlook on life, his son struggles with relationships, particularly those with women.

The film moves within three time frames: the period between Hal’s announcement that he is gay and his own death a few years later, the period in Oliver’s life after his father’s death, and flashbacks to Oliver’s memories of childhood.

After Hal dies, Oliver becomes somewhat of a shut-in while trying to form a relationship with a young actress (Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds). They both have a tendency to run from intimacy, and it’s heartbreaking to see these two groping toward connection. It may be that it is never too late to make a fresh start, and the father has set an example for his son.

Beginners is a thoroughly enjoyable character study about people opening up and discovering themselves despite age, preconceptions, and illness.

As Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, says, “(Beginners) is a buoyant and disarming drama about sons and fathers, death and dying, living and loving, and all the ways we find ourselves starting over, hoping to finally get it right.”

Beginners will be shown at the Town Theatre Monday, Aug. 15 at 5:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Please note the new times.) Tickets are available  at the door and one week ahead at the theatre and the Bean Scene for $7.