After the Toronto press screening of Mike Mills' Beginners last week, Eugene Hernandez and I were debating which distrib should pick it up. And we agreed that Focus Features--which had not acquired anything out of this year's fest--was the best candidate. Sony Pictures Classics and Fox Searchlight were overbooked. And there's a real possibility of a supporting actor nod for Christopher Plummer, who nails the role of an older gay man clinging to life. I had admired Mills' Thumbsucker, so I was not surprised at the little joys to be found in this superbly directed movie.
Ewan McGregor is back on track, after many missteps. He also ably carried Roman Polanski's underappreciated The Ghost Writer. My only caveat is that while you fall for Melanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds) at the start of Beginners, her role does not deepen as the story progresses. It's Plummer who sticks with you. Focus is taking this film out in 201l. So they may spring Plummer on next year's Oscar race.