It’s called Begin Again and on opening weekend it wasn’t playing everywhere in Hampton Roads, but maybe it should have been… I saw it at Regal Columbus at Town Center, and the theater was thirds full.
Begin Again is a movie about the record business that plays like an indie flick with commercial appeal. Mark Ruffalo is Dan — a record label executive who seems to have been drunk and out of touch with his life for quite sometime. He lives in a terrible apartment (apparently with no sheets) — apart from his estranged wife (Catherine Keener, Enough Said) and teenage daughter (played by Hailee Steinfeld). As the day started — he was late for a meeting and ends up fired from the labelhe started. That’s got to be a bad sign right?
That’s when he stumbles into a bar and hears Gretta (Keira Knightly, Pirates of the Carribean) singing. After imagining the entire arrangement of the song in his own mind… he quickly moves to snap her up and change the course of both of their lives in the process.
So Gretta’s story is that she moved to New York with her boyfriend, her college sweetheart Dave (Adam Levine) who had just signed a record deal. She is the songwriter… he’s on his way to stardom and leaving Gretta in the dust — thanks to the trappings of the music industry and the temptations that come with it. When Dan approaches her in the bar — all of the downfall has just begun … but the flashbacks give us a glimpse into their pre-fame life with Dave…
Dan and Gretta set out to record her album with her songs in an edgy and fresh way — completely natural with all of the ambient sounds of summer in New York City. He solicits help from everyone he can think of — including a major star he discovered played by Ceelo Green. Mos Def is also along for the ride.
The recording mission becomes somewhat of a transformation for Dan and Gretta. It’s nice to watch it all unfold in a very authentic way.
Ruffalo does a great job with this character — making us both, not like him and like him at the same time. Knightly is perfect in the role and despite some struggles in the acting department, Adam Levine is awesome (to look at*).
Begin Again is written and directed by John Carney (Once) for the Weinstein Company and it strikes just the right chord. We get a very real inside look at the recording industry and all that it does to make or break an artist — and intersting characters and storyline developments to compliment it.
Begin Again is not a love story per say but it is a love-ly story.
THREE AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE COOKIES