Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 2010
Directed by
Mike Mills
104 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


Synopsis:  The story of Oliver (Ewan McGregor) whose recently-deceased father (Christopher Plummer) came out as gay at the age of 75, after Oliver’s mother (Mary Anne Keller) died. Soon after, Oliver meets Anna (lanie Laurent) and the two begin a relationship.

Writer/director Mike Mills based his film on his relationship with his own parents and no doubt this gives the film a good deal of its integrity. Unfortunately the means he chooses to realize it tend to be too tastefully romanticized. Whether it is Christopher Plummer's elegant gay Dad dying of cancer without telling his friends or Ewan McGregor’s melancholy graphic designer mooning over the sadness of it all or Mélanie Laurent’s equally melancholy pretty French actress girlfriend the film is more about style than dramatic substance. There are elements that works like the scenes that re-create Oliver’s childhood spent with his independent-minded but lonely mother - they’re nicely tough-minded where all the others are squishy in the centre - but not enough.

McGregor is well-suited to his part - all tousled hair and sensitively caring - and Plummer is effective as the septuagenarian living his life to the full but Laurent tips the scales too much into the purely photogenic. She looks good and can be playful or teary but this, and uttering banalities, is as much as Mills asks of her. He also overdoes political correctness when it comes to gayness, even managing to work in extracts from The Times Of Harvey Milk.

Cutting often between the various storylines and time periods Mills builds an effective portrait of Oliver’s life and the issues that he faces and some of the gimmicks he uses like repeating lines of dialogue, montages of still photos and sub-titling a cute Jack Russell terrier’s thoughts add an agreeable quirkiness to it but it’s all too lightweight and tidily presented to have much impact.




Want more about this film?

search youtube  search wikipedia  

Want something different?

random vintage best worst