Review: Begin Again

Can a song save your life?

A record exec, Dan (Mark Ruffalo) hasn't been having the best of times. He's just lost his job, he's an alcoholic. He's estranged from his wife and young daughter (Catherine Keener and Hailee Steinfeld) when he's out drinking at a bar, he overhears a singer/songwriter playing at an open mic night. She's Greta (Keira Knightley) who is new to NYC and doesn't fall for Dan's immediate bullshit about signing her and making her change who she is. She's also fresh out of a break up with a rising start, Dave (Adam Levine, who surprisingly doesn't suck) Instead, they collaborate on an album together. They record live in various places throughout New York City, in hopes that Dan's former label mate will like her music and sign her right away.

I loved Dan and Greta's friendship. They don't fall in love and run away together. They help each other when they both needed it the most. That felt really unique compared to so many other things out there today. It's nice to see two leads not turn into a romance. They definitely had a few "will they, won't they" moments, but it isn't important.

Director John Carney brought us a beautiful musical film, Once, back in 2006 and this film has a similar formula. Two compelling leads, beautiful music, and such a touching story. This was an absolute joy to experience. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I wasn't trying to win you over, I was telling you to fuck off." - Greta (Keira Knightley)

18 comments:

  1. Nice review. I really enjoyed this film, and I completely agree that it was good to see this not turn into a typical romance.

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  2. Really looking forward to this one. I feel ashamed that I've never seen Once...so, I guess I'll start here. Great post!

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    1. Thanks! Once is lovely. One of the reasons I love the Oscars so much is because I would've never heard of Once without them winning for Best Original Song.

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  3. I can't wait to see this! Once was such a beautiful film. Looks like Carney knows what he's doing (so maybe he should make more movies!)

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    1. He should. He definitely finds a nice balance between film and music.

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  4. I really need to see this one. And Once finally. They really seem so lovely and Ruffalo and Keira seem to have adorable chemistry.

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    1. They do! Both are great films, but I think I give this one the edge for Ruffalo and Knightley's performances.

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  5. This sounds terrific! I need to check out Once too.

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    1. I hope you get a chance to see them and enjoy them both!

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  6. Great review! I really can't wait to see this. I adore Keira Knightly and I'm looking forward to seeing more of Mark Ruffalo as I've only seen him in a couple of films so far.
    - Allie

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    1. Mark Ruffalo has really grown on me over the past few years. I wasn't really a fan until I saw The Kids Are All Right.

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  7. This sounds like something I'd enjoy! I love films with two leads who don't get together. Really glad you liked it, and great review! :)

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    1. Thank you! I think you'd enjoy it too. :)

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  8. Woo hoo! Glad you loved it too! I really hope "Lost Stars" gets an Oscar nomination at the very least.

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    1. That one was very good! All of these songs were, but that's definitely the most "put together" one we heard.

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  9. ANNA KARENINA was just a year and a half ago and yet I feel like I haven't seen Keira on screen for so long so I'm so excited at the good notices this has been getting. I can't wait to see her luminousity on screen again.

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No seriously, post one. I need attention.