BEGIN AGAIN (2014)
Starring Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, James Corden, Yasiin Bey, Catherine Keener, Karen Pittman, Paul Romero, Andrew Sellon, Ed Renninger, Eric Burton, Marco Assante, Mary Catherine Garrison, Jen Jacobs, Maddie Corman, Aya Cash, Rob Morrow and Cee Lo Green.
Screenplay by John Carney.
Directed by John Carney.
Distributed by The Weinstein Company. 104 minutes. Rated R.
Begin Again is a quirky indie film with a few big name stars. Written and directed by John Carney (of Once fame), Begin Again is the story of two lost souls who find each other through music and are given the chance to begin again.
This movie has a wonderful cast, including both Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley. Most of the cast worked wonders as both individuals with difficulties and together as people who help each other.
Ruffalo gives a standout performance as Dan, a struggling record company producer. His character was captivating and multilayered, as shown through his troubled relationships with his daughter and ex wife, as well as the trouble he faced within himself.
Another standout came from Hailee Steinfeld, who played Ruffalo’s sassy teenage daughter, Violet. Steinfeld is very comfortable and poised on screen. The cast performed well together overall… with one possible exception.
Adam Levine, though musically talented, was not believable in his role. He played a guy (Dave) who let the music industry take over his life, affecting his relationship with Greta (played by Knightley). Levine was stiff and disconnected, delivering a lackluster performance as an actor, though he greatly contributed to the musical soundtrack.
This movie could have gone in several different ways, each of which has been done over and over again; however the writers did it differently, creating an unpredictable and unique story that intertwines life and music.
One of the best parts about the movie is the attention to detail that the writers gave the story. In the beginning, the same scene is reached by three different stories. By finding the place where the characters paths emerge, we discover both who they are and where they will go.
Another one of the movie’s great features was its flawless incorporation of the soundtrack. Music was the central piece that tied the story together, so it was important that it flow both in the background and in the story. Each song performed in the movie went perfectly with the story and message, as well as the tone. One of these songs is “Lost Stars.”
Music helps the characters move the story along, keeping the plot from dragging. The music not only meshed well with the story, but it was actually very good. Keira Knightley shone at the center with a beautiful voice. Adam Levine (and Maroon 5) also provided catchy tunes. The soundtrack is one to look out for.
The characters in Begin Again faced much adversity and struggled with personal relationships. However, each one was presented the opportunity to “Begin Again.”
There was a depth and consistency that was masterfully crafted by the writers . The struggles of each character were true to life and relatable, also due to the fine performance of each actor. Begin Again is surprisingly uplifting and has a great lesson – it’s never too late to begin again.