The album-designer Oliver (Ewan McGregor) meets Anna (Mélanie Laurent) just a few months after his father Hal passed away from cancer. The new love fills Oliver with memories of his father Hal (Christopher Plummer), who at the age of 75 came out as gay after losing his wife after a long marriage. Hals new life as gay was both emotional and amazing, especially when he met a younger lover, but also because father and son became close for the first time. Something that now plays a role in Oliver's love for Anna. The film is inspired by director Mike Mills' own father’s life. "Beginners provide a multifaceted, historical/political perspective on how standards have been shifted, society has become more open and the individual freer," writes Annika Gustafsson in Sydsvenskan. Plummer received an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.