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Escaping the office mid-week to sit in a movie theater and watch a film—what a rare treat! Claudia and I did just that one week ago, for a special screening of a new film Beginners , written and directed by Mike Mills, and starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Mélanie Laurent. This gem of a film opens the San Francisco International Film Festival tonight, before its commercial release in early June.
The fact that a charming little dog, a Jack Russell Terrier named Arthur, appears in nearly every scene is the reason why Bark was invited to the screening. The film is not about Arthur or dogs specifically, but people who love and live with a dog. The dog is not there for laughs or a plot device, he simply is an important part of the characters’ lives, and this natural portrayal is rare among films.
McGregor plays the son, and Plummer, the father with Laurent the son’s love interest. Beginners is an intimate, understated story of self-discovery, life, love and death … and Arthur the dog (performed by Cosmo) is omnipresent for it all. His is a sweet, affectionate performance—coaxed by Mathilde De Cagny, the trainer who gave us that other thespian JRT, Eddie of “Fraser” fame.
Claudia and I loved Beginners, it is one of the most honest and joyous films you’ll see, but also one of the quietest and most restrained. Oh yes, and thought provoking.
We have the good fortune of interviewing the Mike Mills and Ewan McGregor on Friday, and we’ll be sharing our conversation with you in our summer issue.
Check out the film’s trailer, and get a taste of their magic: