If I could say just one word about the movie Begin Again, it would be, “Fabulous.”
However, I do have a few more things to say about this wonderfully fresh, alive, very “real” romance drama.
When Irish writer/director John Carney dazzled the world with the artsy, heartfelt film, Once, we were wooed by this modern-day musical set on the streets of Dublin Ireland. In similar fashion Carney has wooed us once again, but this time it’s in New York City.
It’s an all too familiar story for anyone who has been within 100 yards of the recording industry… an industry filled with shattered dreams, broken promises and broken hearts. Jilted by her rising music artist boyfriend Dave (played by Maroon 5′s Adam Levine), Gretta (Keira Knightley) is left wandering the streets of New York broken-hearted and alone. Dan (Mark Ruffalo) has also been down on his luck. The very label he started fires this once high-power record-label executive. To make matters worse, his marriage of 18 years is a bust, he drinks too much, and his teen-age daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfield) is lonely and looking for attention in all the wrong places. She needs her dad.
When Gretta is asked by another musician friend to perform at a grungy NYC East Village nightclub, she reluctantly sings one of her original songs. Dan is drunk, but sees something in Gretta that inspires him, and he’s bent on producing her.
The artistic genius seen in Once is again repeated by Carney in Begin Again, as Dan and Gretta’s serendipitous encounter becomes the catalyst for a wonderfully “raw,” non-commercial collaboration between the two artists. There is no high-tech studio performances with over-produced sounds, but rather the authentic things that musicians frequently do to make their music happen.
Set to the sounds of New York City, this visionary producer pulls unknown musicians from around the city to produce a fresh, original sound – a sound that ultimately gets the attention of his old label.
The power of this film is not only about the music, but about a realistic creative process from start to finish. It breathes authenticity and originality, while the characters all march to the beat of their own personal transformation.
Unpredictable and heart-warming, this Begin Again promises to tug at your heart and put a smile on your face.
It’s the perfect film for music lovers and romantics…