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Beginners Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Tissues, please. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

A great case for accepting who you really are. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    What results is a disarmingly honest tale of affection, both romantic and filial.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The film's special mixture of sadness, comedy and hope sneaks up on you and stays in your memory.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    All the movie's playfulness rubs off on the actors. Scenes crackle with life. The chemistry among all the actors is terrific.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    The movie darts, dreams, and sometimes seems to dance. The great Plummer, meanwhile, creates an inspiring, fully rounded man in late bloom, and McGregor responds with a performance to match.

    Read Full Review

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Touching gay-themed dramedy about love and loss.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this touching, mature indie dramedy -- based loosely on the experiences of writer/director Mike Mills -- revolves around a father coming out of the closet at the age of 75 and proceeding to live life as a gay man to the fullest despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer. The movie has some frank but not overt sexuality and sexual references; though sex is discussed, nudity is limited to one female breast. Language includes several uses of "f--k." Characters tend to drink fairly often, but not to drunkenness, and the father takes several prescription drugs for his illness (one sequence shows him high on Prednisone).

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays father-son relationships. How does it compare to other father-son stories you've seen in the media?
  • The movie deals with sexual orientation without going into a lot of detail or showing a lot of nudity. Does that have any impact on the storytelling?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The main character overcomes many difficult challenges. He has closed his heart due to too much loss and hurt, but when he sees his father opening his heart in spite of many obstacles, he slowly learns to do the same. 

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Hal has learned to live his life to the fullest despite being diagnosed with cancer and having only a short time left. He feels no bitterness toward his previous life and keeps an open heart and an active mind, loving and helping others when he can and allowing others to help him. He doesn't try to pressure his son, but rather sets an example, and the son eventually follows.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Images of the shooting of Harvey Milk when characters watch The Times of Harvey Milk on television. In flashback, a mother and a young son play "shooting" games. Vandalism (graffiti).

  • sex false4

    Sex: Lots of kissing, both between men and women and between men. The main character and his girlfriend sleep together; they're seen lying in bed. Viewers see Anna's breast. Some discussion about gay sex. Oliver and Anna peruse a Joy of Sex book in a bookstore, and some pictures are shown. Some naked paintings are on view.

  • language false4

    Language: A recording of Allen Ginsberg reading his infamous poem Howl contains a line about getting "f--ked in the ass." "F--k" is also used several more times (particularly in one scene when fireworks are set off); "Jesus" and "oh my God" are used as exclamations.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Hal, diagnosed with cancer, takes several pills; in one scene, he's high on Prednisone. The main character drinks at a party but doesn't get drunk. Hal has a party in his hospital room, with alcohol served.