by Pixie Stardust
The film seems to reveal all in the first few moments before developing into a beautiful, heart warming, poignant and moving story of love, loss and making the most of life. The sadness is balanced with humorous and absurd moments such as Ewan McGregor’s character Oliver explaining the history of Jack Russel terriers to a Jack Russel terrier, Arthur. The dog, sparingly subtitled, makes some perceptive statements that are hilarious in both their truth and absurdity.
Arthur belonged to Oliver’s father Hal (Christopher Plummer) who comes out as gay at the age of 75, after the death of Oliver’s mother. Hal, embracing his new life, quickly finds a boyfriend and joins the gay activism scene. His passion for life and love in the face of adversity challenges Oliver to reflect on his own life.
The three lead actors – McGregor, Plummer and Melanie Laurent – are excellent, providing depth and realism to their charming characters. The supporting cast, including Goran Visnjic as Hal’s boyfriend Andy, and Mary Page Keller as Oliver’s mum, are believable and entertaining, particularly the mischievous behaviour of the mother. Creative use of vintage photos, montage, a non-chronological plot and the melancholy voice over of Ewan McGregor make this whimsical character study highly engaging.
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