Begin Again (2013)

Comedy, Drama, Music
James Corden, Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld
A chance encounter between a disgraced music-business executive and a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan turns into a promising collaboration between the two talents.
Writer-director John Carney's return to musical drama isn't quite as potent as it was with Once, but thanks to charming work from its well-matched leads, Begin Again is difficult to resist.
  • The Weinstein Company Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 11 Jul 2014 Released:
  • 28 Oct 2014 DVD Release:
  • $16.1M Box office:

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Intelligent, Entertaining, Warm and exciting.10/10
"A movie about modern advances dismantling the art industry as we know it by replacing the high-paid middle-men with IT, bringing artist closer to audience." Doesn't sound like a thrilling blurb, but this movie brings the story to live with incredible writing, great music, wonderful performances and a brilliant vision. Just like in "Once," this not-love-story side-steps the romance plot Hollywood usually uses like a crutch and focuses on the struggle and triumph or artistic endeavor. (most mainstream stories end with the message that the only happy ending ends in breeding. This tale recognizes the value of humankind's other creative capabilities.) Not that the film's all esoteric and above family. There are all kinds of emotional wounds we suffer in this life, in our families. Rather than a sub-plot focused on starting a family, this story's sub-plot focuses on both growing strong after a family fails (harder) and on repairing another failed family (hardest).

And that's all below the point.

Music! What wonderful music they used in this film, from the soundtrack to the original performances. The way they bring the performances and the creative process to life - the pain, the joy, the failures and triumphs - is just thrilling. This is the kind of film that will make you want to get up and MAKE STUFF. And then put it out there because you can. You don't need the middle-men anymore. You don't need the industry.

To create is the highest expression of humanity and so, perhaps, making art (like this film) that inspires creativity in others is yet a step above.
Really a pleasant surprise - delightfully not full of cheese!9/10
I was expecting a cheesy film. I am not into musicals so was hesitant to commit to this film, in a theatre. But, I was pleasantly surprised. I find some of Ruffalos work, like Now you see me, to be hard to sit through. I did not dislike that film, but I hated his performance. Part of it was how vapid the character was. In this film it is the opposite. He is charming, roguish, creative, and delightful to watch. Quite frankly I did not think Knightly was up to this either. Was I ever surprised. She was great. Well written, well directed, and very good overall. In these days of Hollywood losing its edge, and producing more and more low quality, derivative work, it is refreshing to see a film like this one. And I did not even need to use my earplugs. Transformer this film was not. Thankfully.
If music be the food of love10/10
Once again, Carney wins me.

I'll let the other reviewers introduce you to the characters and the plot, I'll just say this -- for me, this is a perfect movie. It took hold of me from the start, took me down to the depths, up to the heights, and never let me go until the last frame. Perfect execution: casting, performances, writing. The actors just nail it, especially Knightley and Ruffalo, though I would have liked to have seen more done with Catherine Keener.

I rarely watch movies twice, but there are people I want to share this with, and I ordered the soundtrack as soon as I returned home.

How will they finish this, I kept thinking toward the end. The answer? Perfectly.
Keira can sing! Nice feel good movie about music making today8/10
This is a feel good movie about musicians making an album. Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley play producer and song writer who team up to make a demo filmed all over the city. The songs are pleasant and the characters are sympathetic and likable even Hailee Steinfeld as Mark's daughter. There is a nice dynamic between the characters which makes the movie enjoyable to watch. There is almost as much music as a musical but it doesn't feel much like a musical.

Who knew Keira could sing so well? She doesn't have the most powerful voice but her singing is musical and right for the type of songs. Mark looks suitably scruffy for the fallen on hard times composer. Nice cameo by Ceelo Green and Adam Levine who sings quite a few songs.

Movies like this are pleasant and uplifting to watch - if you want a break from action or violence of summer blockbusters.
Don't judge a book...9/10
John Carney is one of the few people working in movies today whose next work I am always eager to see. Along with a few others such as Richard Linklater, he has proved to me that you can take a premise which has been explored many times before and view it from a different perspective to create something that feels original and fresh. His previous work 'Once' did this and is among my favourite films.

Suffice to say, when I saw the trailer for Begin Again it simply did not grab me. My first worry was that it looked 'too Hollywood' (read as 'cliche and predictable movie churned out to make money with little care or thought for the story it is telling'). I felt a little worried going in to see the film that somehow Mr. Carney had fallen foul of the big producers, making sacrifices to the story in order to get some 'names' into it.

However, around 20 minutes in, my hopes returned and I knew it was going to be special... and it just got better from there. the film builds on the story and characters as it goes on, making me care about them, showing me things I had never seen before in similar movies and above all, making me think. As the credits rolled, I was wiping my eyes, partly from the wonderful soundtrack but mostly because Begin Again is a magical film. It still has the 'spark' that I felt in his previous pictures, a huge amount of love, passion and care that has brought it into being - not just a half baked idea thrown out there to pay back impatient investors. The soundtrack, performances and well-crafted script took me on an emotionally rewarding journey, leaving me feeling inspired, uplifted and a little nostalgic for times gone by. yep, I am gushing, but it really is going to be hard to beat for film of the year for me.

Between the scenes, I also loved how it discreetly touched on some important issues with throwaway lines, addressing things which people take for granted these days: 'Music is for the ears, not the eyes.' and 'don't dress like you are easy' being two of them. Image is so ingrained into art these days, the majority of people all seem to judge a book by it's cover without looking inside. And the same could be said for this film too. On the outside it looks like yet another generic, manufactured Pop Idol... but if you sit down and watch it, I think you will be pleasantly surprised that it has something profound to say and says it well.

Thought provoking, life affirming and highly recommended!