Begin Again (2014) – Film Review

Begin Again

Starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo

Directed by John Carney

IMDB Rating: 7.5

A fun and sweet story that features a memorable and catchy soundtrack.

Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo) is a record label executive in New York City who is separated from his wife and daughter. After he gets fired from his job, he starts drinking heavily at a bar where he watches Gretta James perform for the first time. James is mainly a songwriter who wrote songs with her longtime boyfriend, a successful musician Dave Kohl. (Played by Adam Levine) Mulligan tries to get James signed with his former label but the label head is uninterested in her. Mulligan remains determined so the two work on making a demo and getting Gretta James signed.

The story isn’t entirely original. A lot of movies about the music industry seem to follow in a similar pattern. What I do like is how the movie digs deeper into the character of Dan Mulligan. We watch him struggle and succeed and we watch Gretta James face struggles in her life as well. The story isn’t completely predictable and it has it’s fun moments. Not to mention, the music is what makes the movie worth watching in the first place.

I was pleasantly surprised with singer Adam Levine’s performance. He’s the lead singer for the rock band Maroon 5 and he played the part of the douchebag rather well. Mark Ruffalo did a nice job with spiraling out of control throughout the movie as he struggled with alcohol. It was also nice to watch how he evolved once he heard Gretta’s music. I’m not sure how realistic that is in terms of how quickly he made the change but it was quality acting regardless. I was also impressed with how awesome actress Keira Knightley’s voice is. She was given awesome songs but her having a beautiful voice made it even better.

John Carney is known for his other movie about musicians in Once. Once was a lot more low budget with two unknown actors who were really singer-songwriters in real life. That movie had a lot of charm considering the stars wrote the music and lyrics on their own. However, I think that this was another good directing performance by Carney. There was a lot of scenes that took place all across New York City which is obviously a beautiful place to film which was a wise decision on his part.

I think this is a fun and heartwarming film that’s worth the watch. Some of it seems a little drawn out and not that much of a plot. However, the music in it and the acting performances make the movie worth while. I think fans of both music and movies will enjoy this one!

Review written by Rachel Geiger

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