Review 225: Begin Again (2013)
After watching Sing Street, I’m determined to visit John Carney’s other films. Once wasn’t on Netflix, but it did have Begin Again. I enjoyed the movie, but not nearly as much as Sing Street. I feel like Begin Again is Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy.
Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced music executive, hears Gretta (Keira Knightley) perform at a bar by happenstance. Her song seems to bring him out of his depression and he sets out to make her a star while getting his career back on track.
John Carney definitely knows how to thread music through a story about life. It’s something I relate to quite a bit. I really love the sequence when Dan is watching Gretta perform her song solo with an acoustic guitar. He hears other instruments and starts arranging the song in his head. Visually, we see the instruments come to life with invisible musicians playing them. Carney uses some non-linear storytelling in this film and it really helps set the ghost instrument sequence up nicely. It’s really an awesome scene and gives insight to the mind of a music producer.
The film stars Ruffalo and Knightley but also has James Corden, Hailee Steinfeld, Yasiin Bey, Catherine Keener, and Adam Levine. It’s a romance in some ways, but not necessarily the one I expected. I actually found Knightley extremely charming in this film and really felt for her character. She represents the pure artist who doesn’t want to become something she isn’t to be successful. That’s countered by Adam Levine’s character who really wants to be successful. Ruffalo is the character he usually portrays and I love that. He’s erratic and focused that creates a fun presence on screen.
To wrap it up…
I really like this movie. The music wasn’t as impactful as it was Sing Street. I don’t think I’ll be listening to the songs in my car like I have been with Sing Street. The characters aren’t as relatable in this film either as they are in the industry already. They are just trying to find their place in the current landscape. Yet, music is able to cure the problems the characters face and I believe in the power of music.