Aug 15, 2011 12:00AM

Mike Mills' Beginners

The director speaks with us about the film, which was inspired by his own father.

Beginners speaks of the fumbling hesitancy and unbridled joy that life's relationships can bring. Oliver (Ewan McGregor) is suspended between two: he's dealing with the recent loss of his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer) but just as similarly entangled in something sweet and new with the delightful Anna (Melanie Laurent). 

Rather than meditating on the unalleviated pain of a loved one's passing, Oliver's memories of his father focus on Hal's seemingly incurable zest for life and love in his later years: after 45 years of marriage, he came out as gay at 75. Hal's renewed enthusiasm for life's promise inspires Oliver to become brave in his own new emotional endeavour with Anna. We spoke with Mills about what it was like to make a film with such personal significance (the character of Hal is based upon Mills' own father).

Beginners will be released in Australia on August 25.

Video: Nicholas Sweeney

Interview: Tyson Koh