“Hotshots” looks at a movie!
Beginners is one of those movies whose trailer is intriguing and makes you want to see it, but then after you have seen it, you wish you hadn’t and conclude that it was a waste of time and money.
The reason isn’t just that the trailer gives away the whole story, even though it does, but the story still looks interesting, and it is based on the life of the writer and director, Mike Mills.
No, the reason is that the story is made gimmicky by the way it is told, the chronology is chopped up arbitrarily, and I lost interest in it about halfway through with all the back and forth and further back and further forth.
The story is about a man named Oliver Fields, who is played by Ewan McGregor. We see him cleaning out his father’s house after his father has died, and he says to a dog there, “Arthur, you’re coming with me now.”
The dog is a Jack Russell terrier, and we see subtitles that represent the cute thoughts of Arthur if he could talk and if he could understand what Oliver is saying to him.
We also see what are supposed to be clever graphic images from old advertisements as Oliver comments in voice-over narration about such topics as love, happiness, and homosexuality in society.
You see, Oliver’s father, who is named Hal and played by Christopher Plummer, announced six months after his wife and Oliver’s mother died that he was gay. And then four years after that, Hal died at 75 from cancer.
As if that weren’t enough turmoil in Oliver’s life, he meets a woman named Anna at a costume party, who is played by Melanie Laurent.
So, now we see scenes of the developing relationship between Oliver and Anna, flashbacks to scenes between Oliver and Hal, and even further-back flashbacks to scenes of Oliver as a young boy with his mother.
Some parallelisms are shown between scenes in the present and scenes in the past, but you might find yourself asking as I did, “What’s the story?”
Then, more like “What’s the point?”
In other words, what we have is a very simple story made intentionally and unnecessarily complicated with gimmicky visual comments.
Beginners should have been called Gimmickers and it would have been more true to form.
I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”