Yesterday afternoon’s viewing of the second half of Mike MillsBeginners (Focus Features, now playing) was just as nourishing as my Thursday night viewing of the first 60 minutes. So I’m still in the tank for this heartwarming, patchwork-quilt relationship film — no Sunday morning quibbles or after-thoughts.

Beginners‘ director-writer Mike Mills, Santa Barbara Film Festival chief Roger Durling during yesterday afternoon’s after-party.

Hands down, this is one of 2011’s best films so far.

I caught Beginners late yesterday morning at Santa Barbara’s Riviera theatre. And then sat through a q & a between Mills and Santa Barbara Film Festival chief Roger Durling. And then attended a party for Mills at Durling’s home in Goleta.

I can’t see how Beginners‘ costar Christopher Plummer won’t end up as one of the five nominees for 2011’s Best Supporting Actor. He certainly deserves to be, no matter who else comes along. Plummer taps into an array of late-life emotions but primarily (and very convincingly) joy of living and acceptance of the present and past. He should have won for his Mike Wallace portrayal in The Insider so he’s due.

My only problem was not being able to understand some of Melanie Laurent ‘s dialogue in the second half, what with her French accent and the not-great sound system at the Riviera. But there was pleasure all the same in realizing how many moods and colors she has in her actor’s kit bag. Quentin Tarantino got exactly two colors from Laurent in Inglourious Basterds — terror and a silent, steely-eyed commitment to getting revenge. Fascinating.