July 26, 2011

Love Conscious Beginners

Last night I needed a romantic distraction and following the advice of my colleague Harvey Bailey I went to see Beginners starring one of my favorite actors Ewan McGregor. This film hit the spot.

Mélanie Laurent and Ewan McGregor

I've been thinking a lot about romantic relationships and what we hope and dream to find. It is clear to me that often we are playing out the questions, situations, disconnects, incompleteness we experienced in previous relationships - attempting to feel whole. The film explores these themes with characters who love each other but are disconnected from fulfillment. They are so fearful of missed-love-connections that they are reluctant to fall in love - afraid that it will end up like the disconnected love their parents confusingly lived.

The title Beginners is their effort to be conscious of these repeated disconnects and instead explore a new path in romantic relationships. Christopher Plummer plays Hal, Oliver's (McGregor) father who finally comes out as gay when his wife passes away after 44 years of marriage. For the final four years of his life he finds a lover and begins a new fulfilled love life - although he says he was in love with his wife.

Oliver could never understand their relationship and it is clear that his mother was unfulfilled in her love disconnect. In the final scene Oliver (McGregor) and Anna (Melanei Laurent) try to re-start their broken relationship that was "predicted to fail before they even met". As they sit side-by-side on the bed Anna asks, "what do we do next" and Oliver responds, "I have no idea." But they are willing to try. This is the beginning of consciousness - the willingness to forge a new relationship pathway, to be open, vulnerable, brave in love.