|Ruffalo and Knightley excel in Carney's lovable film.|
Directed by John Carney
Produced by Tobin Armbust, Anthony Bregman and Judd Apatow
Written by John Carney
Starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine, James Corden, CeeLo Green and Catherine Keener
John Carney's much-anticipated new film returns him to the world of music and musicians, and this time the charming musical scene is Manhattan. Dan (Ruffalo) is a washed-up music producer. Gretta (Knightley) is a budding singer-songwriter. He is separated from his wife Miriam (Keener) and barely sees his daughter Violet (Steinfeld), while she has broken up with her boyfriend Dave (Levine) - a star on the rise. After a chance meeting, the two form a friendship and collaborate on an album that just might change the course of their lives.
I loved this movie. So much so that I immediately saw it again, and I remained captivated by the infectious music, the brilliant cast, and the abundance of heart-warming scenes that will stick with me forever. This film is unfairly being compared to Carney's Oscar-winning Once - I even tweeted it was Once-lite, which is a quick, albeit simplistic, description. Begin Again is a bigger film, with award-winning actors, a great pop-driven soundtrack, and the streets of Manhattan. Still, it's a film to be enjoyed. Cynics will balk at just how positive and sweet it is, but I was hooked from the beginning, despite a few narrative and tonal issues. The soaring ballads and the chemistry of the cast turn this conventional musical dramedy into an enjoyable, uplifting experience. I might see better films this year, but I'm so glad I saw Begin Again.
Oscar Potential: Best Original Song ("Lost Stars," "A Step You Can't Take Back")