Begin Again feels like a New York, Central Park concert from beginning to end. With performances by Kiera Knightly, Adam Levine, and even CeeLo Green, it is bound to reach your musical soul in one way or another. It is no secret that the hectic, work-based city of New York City can be a bit overwhelming. It can be easy to lose your own, life long dreams in search of a new one. Kiera Knightly finds herself “tagging along” with her talented boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) when he hits a recording deal in the city. Just as she is about to direct her loneliness to a flight back home, she finds she is not the only one wandering lost when she meets Dan (Mark Ruffalo) at an open mic bar. In the midst of a blurred night with Bourbon, somehow, his vision for Grett’s (Kiera Knightly) future in the music industry is the only thing that is clear to him. As they share their love for music through a midnight, New York stroll you can’t help but think these two will connect on a level other than coworkers. But spoiler, this isn’t one of those typical Hollywood movies, which makes it absolutely unique. Kiera Knightly gives a hipster, independent performance as she struggles to find love for herself through her music, which she had set aside while with ex-boyfriend, Dave (Adam Levine). Tapping into her inner vocals, she gives a “Norah Jones worthy” performance, as said by Dan (Mark Ruffalo) when he is first encounters her talents. Giving us a whole new meaning to “take control of your own life” they venture around New York building a demo. In the meantime, Dan (Mark Ruffalo) makes an excellent recovering drunk as he rekindles the flames between his daughter and ex-wife. Both Kiera Knightly and Mark Ruffalo, whom have been away from the Hollywood industry for a while, give an uplifting performance as they search for a new path in New York City.
It is evident that a musical connection is important to writer-director John Carney. Also known for his 2006 indie film, Once, which was recently adapted into a broadway musical as well. It was given four stars by the Huffington Post and almost every single Yelp review. There is no denying, John Carney has a way of capturing his audience through authentic music. In both films, two strangers find themselves when they share their love for music with one another. Yet, Once has a quite a happily ever after ending while Begin Again leaves us hanging with hope. The Begin Again soundtrack is filled with contemporary lyrics and beautiful musicality.
The movie purposely wants you to capture every smile, every sorrow, every insignificant moment, and every musical note; which is mainly why it might feel so never ending compared to other Hollywood films. I suggest you take it all in before calling it “boring”. It’s way deeper than the usual romantic comedies we are used to. John Carney certainly wants you to feel enchanted by the scenery rather than the attractive actors. Carney has no intention of cramming dramatic events into the film, which is why I am giving it such a light-hearted review. It’s a feel good movie. Definitely one you might consider watching with a... musical soulmate. (;