(In French, On Cable TV, December 2018) I’m not sure what I expected from Beginners, but I got a lot more than I thought. The story of a man dealing with the death of his father as he’s trying to decide whether to pursue a romantic relationship of his own, Beginners is considerably funnier than you’d think considering the subject matter. As our protagonist pieces together his life, the life of his father, and what happened since his father came out as a gay man, the film is remarkably free-form and entertaining in taking us inside the character’s head. This is not a big film, but director Mike Mills’s execution is almost maximalist at times—non-chronological, expressionistic, surprisingly humorous and able to wrap up this slice-of-life narrative with a satisfying finish. Mélanie Laurent is quirky and cute as a free-spirited love interest but this is not her film: Ewan McGregor gets a strong dramatic role here, although he’s sometimes overshadowed by Christopher Plummer’s sheer presence. Beginners wraps up nicely as a film that sits between genres—not a comedy, not a drama, but something that clearly understands what it’s trying to do.