Much has been said about Mike Mills' new film The Beginners, a semi-autobiographical story which explores the emotionally charged moments of his life, from memories of budding romance to his aging father’s coming out after being married to Mills' mother for 44 years, but what is interesting about this work is the accompaniment of a companion book to the movie. Mills is much a graphic designer as filmmaker and has produced album covers, music videos and brand campaigns for people as diverse as Sonic Youth, Pulp, Marc Jacobs, Moby and Yoko Ono.
The film sees Ewan McGregor play Mills with Christopher Plummer taking the role of his septuagenarian father. The act of drawing plays a pivotal role in the movie and as Mills was writing the script, used sketching as a tool for experimentation and describing his ideas. These developmental drawings were then collated, along with the final sketches from the movie itself, into the book Drawings From the Film Beginners, which consists of three sections which reflect the narrative of the film "The History of Sadness", "1995" and "The History of Love".
"This book contains many of the drawings which I(Mike) drew, and that Oliver (played by Ewan McGregor) works with in the film: Oliver has the unfortunate idea of creating an illustrated “History of Sadness” as a record cover for the “The Sads”. It’s a multi-chapter attempt to portray, well yes, the history of all that makes us unhappy. This book also has many of the drawings I did to get to the drawings you see in the film. I worked on this project on and off over a few years, not sure where I was going or how one should draw such a history."