If you love music and want to have a really fun time, then I urge you to see Writer/Director John Carney’s Begin Again.
This is a gem of a film about a young, singer/song writer Grettta James (Keira Knightley) and washed-up record producer Dan (Mark Ruffalo), who meet by fate after she’s been dumped by her rising-star boyfriend (Adam Levine) and Dan’s been fired by his one-time partner (Mos Def).
It starts out like a standard romantic comedy, but 10 minutes into it, magic happens and the audience realizes it's in for a fabulous ride.
Together, Gretta and Dan try to produce an album of her songs, using out-of-doors venues all around New York City.
This is a story about the creative process …what Inside Llewyn Davis tried and failed to do. The secret is that Begin Again is done with a feeling of authenticity and delicacy, yet, like Knightley's character, is uncompromising, as well.
What John Carney’s excellent screenplay also proves is that, in the best of romances, there is not just one main character; there are two. However, in this romance, there is a wonderful twist because the main characters have different loves.
But, Carney is not just a great writer; he is an excellent director, as well. The scenes move so smoothly with the actors seeming so relaxed, it’s as if we’re listening in on private, improvised conversations.
Cinematographer Yaron Orbach always knows just where to put the camera for best effect and Composer Gregg Alexander has put together a super soundtrack with most of the truly wonderful songs written by him. Begin Again is, also, a musical in the same sense as Carney's Once. But, it's even better!
Keira Knightley proves she has a fine singing voice and Mark Ruffalo has never been better. They are backed up with fabulous performances by James Corden, Hailee Steinfeld and Catherine Keener.
I confess I enjoyed this film so much, I saw it again a few days later. And, it was even better on the second viewing!
I give Begin Again a 4.9 out of 5
PS: I may need intervention... I've seen the film two more times since the original posting...and may see it again!