Begin Again movie cast: Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, James Corden, CeeLo Green
Begin Again movie director: John Carney
Begin Again movie rating: 4 stars
“I wanna make records with you,” is as good a pick-up line as any. But in John Carney 2014 directorial Begin Again, that is not the case. Mark Ruffalo’s character Dan Mulligan pitches that line as an idea to Keira Knightley’s Gretta James when he hears her sing for the first time. An idea to start something new together, in a professional capacity. That is not what often happens with the leads of a romantic musical drama.
But those of you who have watched the filmmaker’s Once would know what I am talking about. Of course, you root for them to end up together, because the element of romance in the musical is strong, almost like a second nature. But even if they don’t, you make your peace with it, because there is closure.
The story is of a once-famous and now-failed executive record producer Dan (Ruffalo) who just cannot pick the right kind of talent anymore, the kind that sells. Largely because he doesn’t wish to compromise his personal taste for the sake of a mere trend. There is something noble and authentic about him. Everyone loves to support an underdog anyway so it is easy to wish for Dan’s success. But a wonderful twist of fate happens when a heartbroken Dan hears an equally heartbroken Gretta (Knightley) sing in a pub one night. From thereon, writer-director John Carney takes you on an emotional, sweet and uplifting journey of music told through simple, telling sequences and lovely songs.
Hollywood Rewind: Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | Tangled | Meet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
Oh and we also have American pop sensation Adam Levine as the ‘grey guy’ of the narrative, a job he does surprisingly well. However, some of the best moments that take place in the film happens when Dan meets his daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld), who is also a closet musician.
Gregg Alexander’s score is excellent and sets in perfectly with the mood of the movie. New York blooms under Yaron Orbach’s lenses. And as far as the soundtrack is concerned, every song is memorable and the kind that will stay with you long after you are done watching the film. “Lost Stars”, “Tell Me if You Wanna Go Home” and “Coming Up Roses” are my favourites.
Begin Again is currently streaming on Netflix.