Begin Again (2014)

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Nice, positive movie

Not as good as Once but still good

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Begin Again

Studio:  Exclusive Movie Group

Genre(s):  Drama/Musical

Release Date(s):  July 11, 2014

MPAA Rating:  R


Are you ready to rock!

Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo) is a record producer who hasn’t had a hit in years and has been fired from the record company that he helped form.  Gretta James (Keira Knightley) likes writing songs and has just broken up with her up-and-coming singer boyfriend Dave Kohl (Adam Levine).  When the Dan and Gretta meet, a collaboration begins that could change the way that music is made.  The two are out to make a record straight from the streets of New York City and the journey from song to album could change both of their lives.


Got to get your money somewhere…

Written and directed by John Carney, Begin Again is a follow-up to his award winning musical romance Once from 2007.  Begin Again received a limited release and positive reviews from critics.  The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song (“Lost Stars”).

I loved Once.  I thought it was a very inspiring movie about two people finding each other at the right time and something magical happening as a result.  Begin Again has a lot of similar themes and though it isn’t quite as good, is still enjoyable.


We need to dance!

The story is almost identical to Once in its base form.  Two artists find each other at the right time and make music the way they want to make music.  The love is more admiration here, but like Once, it has a similar almost downtrodden ending (which somehow still remains happy).  It works because it is a positive story…no one is stealing ideas, no one is trying to undermine anyone…it is a nice, pure story.

The movie has a great cast.  Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley are usually good, and they are good here as the leads.  They are backed by a great supporting cast.  You get the aptly cast Adam Levine as the sellout singer/songwriter Dave Kohl, and Catherine Keener is good as Dan’s estranged wife.   James Corden continues to develop as a supporting actor, and Hailee Steinfeld who became a young Oscar contender in True Grit, brings dimension to Dan’s daughter.  You also have a small role by Mos Def and an appearance by CeeLo Green playing himself.


So…do you think I can audition for The Voice?

The movie has great music and showcases a lot of nice imagery from New York City (usually through montages of the recording sessions).  The music and scenery really comes together (as it is meant to in the album).  The decision to set up the opening as an almost Rashomon retelling of one day didn’t necessarily work, but it does change up the standard film narration.

Begin Again has heart even if it stole some of it from its sister film Once.  Sit back and enjoy the songs of the film.  It is a light movie that is enjoyable and fun and reminds you that movies don’t have to be controversial, dark, and twisted.  Begin Again is worth seeking out (but seek out Once first).

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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