Howdy ladies and gents and welcome to a new series I’ve been wanting to try out on this blog for a little while entitled “TAKE TWO!” where I take a look a film I haven’t seen for a while and see if it still holds up, and today’s choice is Begin Again.
Now for those not aware, Begin Again was this delightful little film from 2014, musical focused drama where the two main characters played by Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo both from two different areas of the music industry team up to create a unique album recorded in public locations all over New York City. When I saw it in the cinema I really liked it, I was pleasantly surprised as wasn’t sure what to expect but mainly wanted to check it out because of the reviews and Mark Ruffalo’s casting, but it was one of my favourite films of that year. So when I watched Sing Street not too long ago, I wanted to rewatch this film to see how it compared to director John Carney’s latest film, but also see if the story, characters, music and enjoyment level held up. And you know what? It does!
One of the reasons I loved the film before and now is because its suck a feel-good film, and while there’s a focus on the drama and heartache, there is so much happiness, humour and joy that shines through the story, characters and music. What I liked about the story that is that its heartfelt and covered relatable issues like love and loss, the highs and lows of life, taking chances, forging new connections and following your dreams in the face of adversity. I also love the cast, everyone involved does a great job of making you care about these characters, you invest them and see their talent, strengths and flaws, unique qualities and personal drama and they work really well just as individual but also together because that’s where you’ll get a lot of enjoyment in this film. If you had told me back in my teens that I’d ever enjoy a film with Keira Knightley in it then I’d say you’re insane, but here she surprised me a lot, she was tolerable and dare I say likeable and I enjoyed her performance a lot. But then there’s Mark Ruffalo who was just incredible, he was very versatile, charming, charismatic and fun. This was I think the first film that introduced me to Hailee Steinfeld and she was really good too, I mean everyone’s great from Mos Def to Catherine Keener and CeeLo Green and James Corden were especially fun too. But I also have to mention Adam Levine, mate, I LOVE that dude’s voice, have done since the Maroon 5 days back in 2004. And even though I’m not overly keen on his band’s sound these days, his performance in this film reminds me of why I fell in love with his voice way back when as he still sounds incredible.
But on top of all that you have the music, and that is the soul of this film. This film really is about the music. Carney does a great job of making the music in this film, whether it is original or well-known, an integral and enjoyable part of this film. It feels like a celebration of music and makes you appreciate the art of creating music from the lyrical content to the creation of new sounds to way it can affect people emotionally. The use of popular artists like Stevie Wonder, The Walls and Frank Sinatra is great and further illustrates the film’s appreciation of music and its varied sounds, but the original songs are also great too, they quite varied, but are also catchy, personal, beautiful, joyful and some can even an emotional response from you too (I know it did for me). Even though a lot of this music isn’t my usual cup of tea, because of the way it’s presented in the story and the emotional content that’s tied to the musicians as they play, there’s a deeper level of appreciation for the songs, plus it also helps that the songs are wonderfully crafted and feature really good instrumentation as well as vocals. All of the songs have a sense of beauty, depth, wonder and emotion which you can hear in the lyrics and instruments. “Lost Stars” whether you’re talking about the Knightley or Levine version, there’s something about that song that gets me right in the soul every time I hear it, the same rule applies to “Like a Fool” which just hurts me when I hear those lyrics, but it’s so good at the same time. But then you have the sound of pure happiness with “Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home (Roof Top Mix)” which sounds and feels SO good, and just seeing such a varied amount of people come together to create such a great sound in a unique setting makes me so elated that its hard to describe.
So yeah if you couldn’t tell already I really enjoyed Begin Again and it definitely falls into the department of films I can watch over and over and never be bored with and if you haven’t seen it I imply you to do so because it is really fun and the music is great. And if you’ve seen the film already let me know what you thought of it in the comments below, until next time, laters! 😀