Howdy people of the internet, today I return with my review for the film Begin Again. Now I had no intention of watching this film until my auntie told me that she really liked it, so I decided to give it a chance and saw it on Thursday. So what did I think of it? Well read on and find out!
When it comes to the story it goes like this:
“Gretta and her long-time boyfriend Dave are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan, a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City.”
The story on display here is a very good one that is delightful, heartfelt and engaging throughout. While the film is primarily about people and their relationships with music it is more than just that. It feels like a film that is celebrating music in general, like its emotional powers, the in which it connects us and the way it can change the mood or atmosphere of any place depending on what music is being played. You can tell that the filmmakers are fans of music as there is a great sense of fun and playfulness, but also a level of realism and insight into the ups and downs of making it in the industry as a successful musician. Also thankfully I love how the film didn’t fall into the trap of having a generic love story approach with the main characters too.
As for the cast they were all really good and were a joy to watch. Let’s start with Keira Knightley as Gretta. Normally I can’t stand Knightley, it is something about her face that just puts me off and in general the roles she plays are never that engaging or fun, but in this film she was actually tolerable. This is the first film I can actually stand her character in because her character, Gretta is just a normal human being who has dreams and aspirations but is also fragile and has experienced heartbreak. She’s headstrong, smart and surprisingly cool. And then there’s Mark Ruffalo who is in top form as Dan Mulligan. This is a man who has vision, he knows music and has had massive success in the past, however he isn’t in tune with what is going on in the music business today, he’s a bit of drunk and has issues with his ex-wife and distant daughter. He does come across as a bit pretentious but he is also very passionate and likes to take chances on things that he thinks will work. Together Knightley and Ruffalo have amazing chemistry together, they seem totally natural and fun together like they’ve been friends for ages and it makes for some very special and lovely moments on-screen.
Adam Levine as Dave Kohl, Gretta’s ex-boyfriend is also pretty good, to a degree I almost didn’t recognize him throughout the film because he didn’t seem like his ‘Maroon 5 front man’ kind of self, but I guess that’s a good thing. His acting was serviceable and as usual his singing is impeccable and it was only at those moments when I remembered him as the main guy from Maroon 5. James Corden as was surprisingly nice and tolerable Steve, Gretta’s best friend. Now I don’t hate Corden but sometimes I do find him to be a bit insufferable, however here he was actually fun and did get me smiling on occasion because of his character’s dialogue. Hailee Steinfeld does well as Dan’s daughter, Violet Mulligan and the appearance from CeeLo Green as Trouble Gum was totally cool as he was just cool, quirky and hilarious as he seems in real life. And lastly both Mos Def as Saul and Catherine Keener as Miriam brought a lot of interesting elements to this film as their respective characters.
And then there’s the soundtrack which features a collection of established music and original material by Gregg Alexander and holy man, it is amazing. Not since Inside Llewyn Davis have I been this engaged with the audio side of a film. Genre-wise while this film contains various types of songs from Stevie Wonder to Frank Sinatra, the original pieces of music are more a little more radio friendly. I’m not too good with identifying certain genres of music but a lot of this material had a pop/funk/folk kind of feel as separate and crossed over songs and it is the way in which it is executed, it sounds so good. Now while the music that style of music that Gretta does is not really my kind of jam normally, here in this film I really liked it and at several points during the film I kept saying to myself, “I’m gonna have to get the soundtrack for this film.” Honestly, it is that good.
In conclusion Begin Again is a smart, realistic and heartfelt film that I had a better time with than I ever could have imagined. This is just a feel-good film with some really good acting, absolutely amazing music and beautiful sense of pride. I would recommend it purely based on how fun it is, even if you’re a bit sceptical, give it a try.
So have you seen Begin Again and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review. Laters! 😀