Watching Begin Again reminds us so much of summertime in New York City that you are almost transported, but luckily you get to skip the hot garbage smell.
Begin Again is a sweet little film about redemption and staying true to yourself, all set in the vibrant city of New York, where music and location are integral characters in the story.
Dan (Mark Ruffalo) used to be a top music executive, but personal problems and a lack of a ‘star’ has caused him to slip in reputation at his label. Unceremoniously released, he goes on a binge to drown his sorrows, which leads him to a bar in the East Village where Gretta (Keira Knightley) is performing. To him, she sounds like gold. Gretta is very resistant in signing to any major label because she refuses to compromise her art. Also, her long time love and songwriting partner Dave (Adam Levine) recently got a record deal and then everything changed for the worse. From this encounter, Dan and Gretta collaborate to create the music he knows she has deep within her raw talent, and in doing so emerges the powerful transformative ability from music.
Begin Again manages to hit all the right notes (Don’t hate me, I couldn’t help it!) in being a sweet summer film perfect for a light watch on a summer evening. There is something sentimental without being obnoxious and I do believe it comes from the writer/director John Carney’s own love and appreciation of music. There is a striking adherence and devotion to music, composition and authenticity that resonates throughout the entire film which can only be possible thanks to the film’s creator.
As a film about music, songwriters and performing – all the actors involved do a super job, especially Keira Knightley whose singing ability was a virtual unknown prior to this film. Begin Again focuses on the underground alternative/indie scene which is supplementary to her soft and possibly unsure singing style. James Corden who plays Steve, Gretta’s old schoolmate and only friend in NYC, is a breath of fresh air in every scene. His energy and innate ability is captivating and his character is a nice antithesis to Adam Levine’s contrived douchiness as Dave.
So if you find yourself longing for summer on a cold winter night or in need of a delightful film for a casual one-time watch then Begin Again is your girl.