Beginners

Synopsis: After his mother dies, Oliver (Ewan McGregor) is stunned when his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer), recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, comes out of the closet. When Hal passes away a few years later, Oliver grows depressed, struggling with his failing career as an artist while constantly remembering his childhood and time spent with his dad. Oliver's loneliness is eased when he meets actress Anna (Mélanie Laurent), but their relationship is threatened by their mutual fear of commitment.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Production: Focus Features
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 34 wins & 29 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.2
Metacritic:
81
Rotten Tomatoes:
84%
R
Year:
2010
105 min
$5,764,842
Website
713 Views


INT. HAL FIELDS HOME.

A single daisy stands in a vase in an empty kitchen.

INT. HAL’S BEDROOM

OLIVER FIELDS clicks on the light to the closet. He looks at

the rack of his parents’ clothes.

He begins to put some in a box marked “home”, some in a box

marked "thrift".

INT. HAL'S BATHROOM

Oliver enters the bathroom and flushes bottle after bottle of

pills and liquids down the toilet. Next he struggles as he

looks over the old toothbrush, hairbrush, all the bottles and

tubes besides the sink. He stares for a beat, then throws

them all away.

INT/EXT. HAL'S TRASH AREA

Oliver hauls trash outside, adding it to a very large pile of

bags. An older Jack Russell Terrier, ARTHUR, follows him.

INT. HAL'S OFFICE

Oliver and Arthur sit on the office floor surrounded by

papers, boxes, books and trash bags. He finds a photo of HAL

FIELDS in an open Jean jacket, no shirt, it’s attached to a

personal ad application which he begins to read.

CUT TO PAST:

EXT. LARGE EMPTY PARKING LOT NIGHT

In the dark, OLIVER FIELDS has a tape recorder and

microphone, he follows ANDY as he excitedly prepares, a group

of friends looks on.

ANDY:

Okay. Is it on? (recorder)

OLIVER:

Yeah yeah.

ANDY:

This is for our friend Hal Fields.

Hal. We love you.

(CONTINUED)

10/29/07 2.

CONTINUED:

Andy quickly lights a rack of large fireworks, they shoot up

into the night and explode - smoke - more explosions -

everyone’s laughing. Oliver looks up at the fireworks,

recording the sounds, happy.

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.

CUT TO PRESENT:

EXT. HAL’S DRIVEWAY - NIGHT

Oliver has packed his car, he leans down to Arthur.

OLIVER:

You’re coming to live with me now.

Arthur looks at him.

OLIVER:

This is my car.

Arthur hops in.

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Oliver’s car drives down Sunset boulevard.

INT. OLIVER'S HALLWAY - NIGHT

Oliver and Arthur enter, he’s carrying a box, his house is

dark and lonely.

INT. HAL’S DINNING ROOM

Oliver enters his dining room, Arthur in tow.

OLIVER:

This is the dining room where

people come and eat sometimes.

The dog listens intently. Oliver moves on, the dog follows.

INT. HAL’S LIVING ROOM

Oliver and Arthur enter the living room.

OLIVER:

This is the living room.

(CONTINUED)

10/29/07 3.

CONTINUED:

Oliver looks around, the dog looks with him.

INT. OLIVER'S BATHROOM

We see the door open revealing Oliver and Arthur continuing

their tour.

OLIVER:

That’s the bathroom.

The dog looks.

INT. OLIVER'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Arthur lays next to Oliver in bed. Unable to sleep, Oliver

looks to the ceiling.

CUT TO NARRATED SEQUENCE

STILL BLACK AND WHITE AND COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SUN, THE

STARS, YOSEMITE, GEORGE W. BUSH FLASH BY:

OLIVER (V.O.)

This is 2003. This is what the sun

looks like, and the stars, nature.

This is the President.

NOW PHOTOS OF THE SUN, STARS, NATURE, ETC. FROM 1955 FLASH

BY:

OLIVER V.O.

And this is the sun in 1955, and

the stars, and nature, and cars,

and phones, and movies, and the

President. These are what pets

looked like. These are fireworks.

This was smoking.

PHOTOGRAPHS, CROPPED IN ON FACES FROM 1955, VERY FAST

SEQUENCE OF PEOPLE KISSING:

OLIVER (V.O.) (CONT'D)

This is what it looked like when

people kissed...

FAST SEQUENCE OF FACES FORM 1955 LAUGHING:

OLIVER (V.O.) (CONT'D)

...When they were happy...

SEQUENCE OF FACES CRYING:

(CONTINUED)

10/29/07 4.

CONTINUED:

OLIVER (V.O.) (CONT'D)

...When they were sad.

FAST SEQUENCE OF MARRIAGE PHOTOS FROM 1955:

OLIVER (V.O.) (CONT'D)

My parents got married in 1955.

SHOT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM, SHOT OF AN OLD HOUSE:

OLIVER:

He was a museum director - she

fixed up old houses.

1955 STILL PHOTO OF A BABY BEING BORN:

OLIVER:

They had a child, and they stayed

married for 44 years...

A SEQUENCE OF STILL SHOTS OF FRENCH TOAST IN DIFFERENT STAGES

OF BEING EATEN, THEN STILL SHOTS OF STRAWS THAT JUMP CUT INTO

CIGARETTES, THEN LIVE ACTION CLIP FROM THE TELETUBBIES, AND

THEN RAPID FIRE THROUGH STILL SHOTS OF EVERY PRESIDENT FROM

1924 TO 2003 AND BACK.

OLIVER (V.O.) (CONT'D)

...Until she died in their bed,

after four months of cancer and

eating French toast for every meal

and watching the Teletubbies

everyday and confusing white straws

for her cigarettes and skipping

back and forth through time inside

her head.

INT. HAL’S HOUSE LIVING ROOM - DAY

Hal fields sits on a couch, in a purple sweater, looking into

camera, struggling for words.

OLIVER (V.O.)

Six months later, my father told me

he was gay. He had just turned 75.

HAL:

I’m gay.

Same camera angle, Hal still looking into camera we jump cut

to him wearing a robe.

OLIVER V.O. (CONT'D)

I always remember him wearing a

purple sweater when he told me this

but actually he wore a robe.

(CONTINUED)

10/29/07 5.

CONTINUED:

HAL:

I'm gay.

Same angle, we continue to jump cut through Hal talking to

camera, each cut in different clothes, and with each cut his

line has a different inflection.

HAL (CONT'D)

I'm gay.

Jump cut, new outfit.

HAL (CONT'D)

I loved your mother, but, uh... now

I want to explore this side.

Jump cut, new outfit.

HAL (CONT'D)

I don't want to be just

theoretically gay, I want to do

something about it.

New outfit and inflection.

HAL (CONT’D)

...I want to do something about

it...

New outfit and inflection.

Rate this script:3.5 / 2 votes

Mike Mills

Michael C. "Mike" Mills is an American film and music video director and graphic designer. He is perhaps best known for his independent films Thumbsucker and Beginners. more…

All Mike Mills scripts | Mike Mills Scripts

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