Begin Again

A long lost music producer finds a singer-songwriter right about the moment he has given up all hope on life.


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  • ★★★★ review by Andy Summers on Letterboxd

    When I have a couple of days off, I tend to try and visit the cinema during the day when it's nice and quiet. With that in mind it was time for a bit of me and Keira time, and yet again she didn't disappoint.

    There are films that are the definition of feel-good. John Carney's film Once, was exactly that and although this is not quite as intimate and naturalistic as that Dublin set musical-drama, it shares a similar DNA. Featuring Keira Knightley ( a future Mrs Summers) and Mark Ruffalo as a singer/songwriter and record label executive respectively, this just has something that makes you want to tap your feet along to the tunes. Knightley's character Gretta has just broken up with her longtime boyfriend, a successful songwriter played by Maroon 5's Adam Levine. Ruffalo's Dan is struggling with both personal issues, job worries, and a tendency to hit the booze. Somehow though they come together to make something just that little bit special.

    There is a moment in the film that was (for me at least) quite magical as Ruffalo's character hears Knightley's acoustic guitar track in a local bar and imagines how it could come alive with some backing instruments and a touch of production. From there on in it becomes an unorthodox partnership as Ruffalo talks her into recording an album in a host of outside locations dotted around the city. It's a bohemian and earthy way to do things and with the help of a couple of classically trained musicians and a few favors from friends, they record some great tracks and relate to each other. There's no romantic bullshit attached here, at least not between Knightley and Ruffalo, but if I had one gripe with the film it would be Adam Levine's unconvincing turn as Knightley's ex. With the likes of James Corden, Catherine Keener, and Hailee Steinfeld as Ruffalo's daughter bringing some added gravitas to the film, there's plenty here to keep audiences upbeat.

    Mark Ruffalo may well be better known for his turn as the Hulk in the Marvel Universe, but he was a gifted actor long before Stan Lee's bosses came-a-calling. Normally the best thing in almost every movie he's been in, it's much the same here as he gives a balls-out display of infectious vulnerability and energy. Keira does as Keira does, and Catherine Keener continues to be the MILF of choice in Andy's fantasy-land. The proof of whether a movie like this works, is how you feel when you leave the cinema, and I can tell you even after sweltering in an oven-like theater with a talkative little cunt sitting not too far away, I still left with a smile on my face. May have to check out the soundtrack too. Haven't seen too many new films from 2014 yet, but this one was very entertaining.

  • ★★★★½ review by Caty Alexandre on Letterboxd

    "Are we all lost stars, trying to light up the dark."

    Sometimes there are films that touch us in a special way, not because we identify ourselves with any particular character or any of the situations encountered in it. Simply connect to us giving us a fantastic moment of pure satisfaction and joy! That's what Begin Again made to me. A feel-good film that will make us stay constantly with a big smile on our face.

    A very refreshing dramedy that warms the heart. In it we follow the stories of Dan and Gretta in New York. Dan is a music producer who has seen better days in his career and marriage. For years he do not get a great record deal as in his glory days and his marriage ended recently. Gretta is a composer, from time to time, as he likes to say, not believing her talent always hidden behind the shadow of her boyfriend Dave, a musician who has just been hired by a major record company. Dazzled by everything Dave ends the relationship of five years with Gretta and she wants to go back to England, her homeland. But fate preaches a game to Gretta and Dan. And a splendid and remarkable project makes their lives go back to light, thanks to the power of music! After all there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Two lives that intersect in a twist of fate, with a big push of Music. And what power has the Music in this film!! The entire soundtrack was purposely written for the film and fits perfectly into the whole plot, fitting each track at the right time. A great soundtrack full of songs that leave the audience delighted!

    Mark Ruffalo, my dear Mark Ruffalo, once again fantastic! A very underrated actor who deserves more value that the one he normally gets. An actor who gives himself body and soul to any character he makes. Here we look at him and never doubt that he is that person, that totally lunatic, aimlessly, without any kind of guidance but a man with a huge love for the world of music. Keira Knightley has managed to form a pretty good career and is also quite convincing in this role of songwriter/singer (she even sings in the film and apparently went quite well in that area too). Never thought the chemistry between Ruffalo and Knightley would be so good, but the fact is that they worked wonderfully together. I love the fact that Adam Levine has accepted a role that ridicules some kind of the music career that he has. It makes me admire him in a different way, shows a very humble side that many others might not have the courage to accept. And in here we can see that he really is an excellent singer, singing different songs that he usually records with his band Maroon 5. Then we still have a good Cee Lo Green cameo and very good supporting cast with names like Catherine Keener, James Corden or Hailee Steinfeld.

    John Carney did a great job directing this Begin Again, a film about starting over, dream, believe in ourselves, redemption and above all be happy!The fact that a film creates a bond with the audience makes it even more special. See it, because this is a film that will definitely make you very happy!

  • ★★★★★ review by Milez Das on Letterboxd

    With Keira Knightley's beautiful angelic voice breathing through every step, Begin Again brings in a beautiful ballad of two souls broken trying to find themselves in the city of New York. Creating music to its beautiful self.

    I stumbled upon this movie accidentally when it was released with Andy Summers review making me curious about this, I went in blindly without knowing what it was. As the movie ended I had a big smile on the face with purchasing the album on iTunes as soon as I reached home, I listened to every song back to back especially the songs which were sung by Keira. And I watched it twice on the big screen.

    I never remember lyrics of songs but I remember every word of Lost Stars, Coming up Roses and Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home.

    Begin Again is about Gretta and Dan. Dan has been struggling to bring in artists that spoke to him who are really good and that he can work with and create something. He looks like an homeless person, drunk most of the time. Visits his daughter once every month since he got separated from his wife. One day he meets Gretta singing in a bar who herself has broke up with her boyfriend of five years.

    With no money, no studio or anything. Dan and Gretta go on a beautiful journey with Steve, Rachel, Dave and Malcolm along the streets of New York the ambient sound consisting of traffic, birds and people. Creating an album with heart and beauty that marks something for everyone. It brings the gist to Begin Again.

    One of the most beautiful scenes of the movie is when Dan and Gretta put on the songs from their playlist's with headphones on and roam the city. With Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder playing what else do you really need, you just feel the beat of the song and the lyrics that flow from the vocals of the artist who is singing.

    Keira Knightley as Gretta is just amazing. Her voice is so beautiful, she should release an album if she can in the future. She handles her character with such grace and passion that you are with her all the time. I love the scene where Dan yells at Gretta about how his life and marriage fell apart and he starts to walk away and Gretta just runs and hugs him. Even the scene with Saul in the meeting where she asks why is his recording label is getting 9 out 10 dollars was epic.

    Mark Ruffalo as Dan gets into his character with washed up no nonsense kind of vibe. He is great in the dramatic scene where he pulls in everything that his character needs.

    Adam Levine, Catherine Keener, Hailee Steinfeld, James Corden and Mos Def provide a strong support.

    Begin Again is a movie that has made into my unconditional love list. It is just so pure and beautiful trying to find the lost stars with the broken hearts and struggle.

  • ★★★★ review by kayla on Letterboxd

    Good and all but hahahaha was Mark Ruffalo’s character casually smoking blunts the whole time???

  • ★★★★★ review by tysan on Letterboxd

    "I just think you have let your troubles get in the way of your entire life"

    loved this so much! really fun, sweet film with great performances and god, what a soundtrack, i would buy your album keira!!

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