NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

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Filmmaker Mike Mills’ parents met in junior high school. For 45 years, they lived together, raising Mills and his older sisters, until Mills’ mother died in 1999. Six months later, Mills’ father — a 75-year-old retired museum director — announced that he’s gay. Mills’ second movie, Beginners, is loosely based on his own relationship with his father, Paul. The movie stars Ewan McGregor as a graphic designer whose 75-year-old father, played by Christopher Plummer, has just come out and wants to experience the gay life he denied himself when he was married. Mills says he remembers the day that his own father took him aside and told him that he didn’t just want to be “theoretically gay” — that he wanted to do something about the feelings he had repressed for decades. “The day before, he said, ‘Michael, I’m going to throw you a ball and I hope you catch it,’ ” Mills recalls. “And I was like, ‘Oh, no, he wants to move in with me.’ … The next day, we’re sitting on the couch and he said ‘I’m gay.’ ” MORE

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