Begin Again

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Greta: This really is a bit of a long shot, isn’t it?

Dan: Absolutely! That’s when the magic happens.

I wanted to see this movie in theatres when it came out but as it happens I didn’t get around to seeing it at all until this week at home. In all honesty it’s not a theatre movie but it’s a great movie. I loved it. Mark Ruffalo plays Dan a down on his luck music producer who back in his heyday started his own company but unfortunately hasn’t done anything in years. Keira Knightley is Greta a songwriter who follows her long-time boyfriend (Adam Levine) to New York where he quickly dumps her to see where his relationship with another woman is going to go. Dan and Greta meet at an amateur singing night in a bar where he goes to continue to drinking and she performs. He sees something special but because they have no money and no backing they plan to make an album the old-fashioned way and do it renegade style using New York as a backdrop.

(Quick note- I haven’t seen Once also by this director so I can’t speak to any similarities but after Begin Again I’m putting Once on my wish list.)

Thing I Liked:

The actors are uniformly excellent. If you like either one of them (and I like both) they’re really great here. At their most adorable! Ruffalo makes even the down on his luck Dan charming (of course) and Keira has a good voice for this kind of thing. My favorite of all the songs in the movie was, Tell Me If You Want to Go Home  which Knightley sings. I downloaded that one immediately. I also loved Adam Levine’s version of the song, Lost Stars.

Dan and Greta. I liked watching them both come alive with a passion over the music. They shared a belief that music should be art and should be meaningful and while they are sad sacks in the beginning the film does a good job of bringing them back, seeing them light up when talking about what they love and that it’s a shared passion actually made me buy into their journey completely. The relationship toes the line of a full on romance. I could see there was interest there on a deeper level but it was almost like they were so in love with the music that was how they connected and developed such a great friendship.

New York. Yeah, this is one of those films of old that just make me want to get on an airplane and go to New York even if it costs me my last dime. There’s a beautiful sequence where Dan and Greta walk around the city at night listening to each other’s IPOD. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Time Square look so pretty. And another one when they record one of the songs on a random roof with the water towers and the skyline in the background.


Without getting into spoilers it’s a little hard to connect with Dan’s decisions concerning his family as his ex-wife Miriam is really barely in the movie. But even there I felt like his relationship with her and his daughter Violet as at least honest.

At first I wasn’t sure about the resolution with the record either but it worked for both characters.

Honestly, the movie hit all my sweet spots. Music, charming actors, beautiful New York… I liked it so much that even the iffy stuff didn’t bother me that much.

Dan: You can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their playlist.

Greta: I know you can. That’s what’s worrying me.

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