“The Ides of March” or “Beginners”?

The award season is upon us and this week I watched two movies that were featured prominently at the recent Golden Globe awards.

Take this with a grain of salt.  I love watching movies, but I’m not a movie reviewer.  With that being said, you won’t see big words in this short review that you have to look up before you know if the review is a good one or heading south.

“THE IDES OF MARCH”

The first was “The Ides of March”, a political movie, which is right up my alley.

George Clooney plays a Pennsylvania Governor that is neck and neck in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.  The race is very close and he and his competition are fighting hard to win the swing state of Ohio.  The movie focuses on all of the behind the scenes deals that take place to get endorsements and what each side’s campaign managers will do to get the upper hand.

And, there are several twists and it all comes back to Iowa.  Go figure!

Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood, are all amazing in their roles.  However, it’s the always charming and amazing Gosling that was singled out for the Best Actor award in Motion Picture Drama category at  the Golden Globes.  He lost out to fellow actor George Clooney for Clooney’s performance in “The Descendants”.

In addition to Gosling’s acting nomination, “The Ides of March” was also nominated at the Golden Globes for “Best Motion Picture – Drama”,  Best Director (George Clooney), and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture by Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon.

I loved all the twists and turns in the movie and it really confirmed that the behind the scenes deal making in politics is dirty!  Believe it or not, politicians’ go-to people are probably slimier than the politicos themselves because they deal with many things the man or woman running for office may never even know!

Gosling is a perfect example of the young people that have so much energy and focus on the future of their America — they want to believe.  It was these young idealists that put Barack Obama in the White House and will keep him there in 2012.

GRADE:  A-

“BEGINNERS”

I really wanted to see this movie when it was released last summer.  However, it mainly played in large cities.  Sorry, Quad Cities.  (If it played here, I missed it!)

While I think Ewan McGregor is an amazing actor (remember that “ER” episode), it was Christopher Plummer that I wanted to see.  As you know, Plummer won the “Best Supporting Actor” award at the recent Golden Globes and he’ll be the person to beat at the Oscars.

The movie had some funny parts that will make you laugh and smile, but overall, it’s a sad movie.

McGregor’s character, Oliver, has never been successful in love and his dad, Hal, played by Plummer, was married to Oliver’s mom, Georgia, for 44 years until she died.  When she died, he came out as a gay man.  However, he knew he was gay all throughout the marriage and so did Georgia, but they loved each other.

At 75-years-old, Hal begins to live — he goes out to clubs and discovers “house music”, finds a much younger boyfriend, and then learns he has terminal cancer.

Overall, I loved the movie.  Plummer was incredible and so deserves every award he wins this season.

In addition to Plummer’s scenes, the movie also was electrifying when it flash backed to a young Oliver with his mother, beautifully played by Mary Page Keller.

However, when Plummer and Keller were not on-screen, the movie sagged.  I really didn’t have any invested interest in Oliver’s relationship with the French woman he met at a party.

“Beginners” was cute and touching, but sad.

GRADE:  B

That’s my first movie review.  🙂

Anthony

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