Beginners is the single most beautiful movie I've seen in 2011. The stunning, while slightly understated, cinematography creates fleeting and overexposed images that make this film a work of art. However, it shouldn't be written off as merely a self-indulgent aesthetic showcase. Homosexuality, loss, love and family come together in a dance of melancholy beauty. The very subtle message is more that you should embrace what is real. A quote from "The Velveteen Rabbit" is mentioned in passing by one of the characters. The Rabbit asks what is real, and if it hurts. This is a film seeped in "real." There is no "storybook "anything here. Love, in any rendition, is not rose petals and tugged heartstrings. The film ends and the credits roll, almost without skipping a beat, and you're left in a state of deep, wonderful melancholy. The combination of visual beauty, musical excellence and thematic subtlety create a sensation of deep despondency, tempered by a bewilderment of life.