Begin Again review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
New York is a magical place to visit, its lively, its bustling and it houses some fantastic sights and sounds (and even smells). New York for a struggling artist however is an entirely different story as the many songs speaking of depression and hatred can attest to. Begin Again tells the story of the sad and disenfranchised living in the city but not for a second do you find yourself pitying them.
Begin Again follows Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a down on his luck record executive who has been on a downward spiral for the last few years with no hit artists and a failing marriage. However one night he hears a song by Gretta (Keira Knightley) and is so blown away that he finds a passion for music he thought he had lost. The two bond over their joint love of music as Gretta tries to get over her devastating breakup with rockstar Dave (Adam Levine) and handle living alone in the city.
The only real problem with Begin Again is the fact it takes almost forty minutes to get started, it spends almost the entire first half providing plot heavy backstory about Dan and Gretta and what brings about their meet cute. While none of it is bad as it develops Dan into an unlikely hero despite his many (and I mean many) flaws. The moments that set up Gretta however almost make her pitiful if it weren’t for some sublime acting by Knightley who has been on a roll lately moving from one great character to another.
Aside that small qualm Begin Again is a heartwarming and light drama film that really gets into the minds of the people that make the music business work, the people with the kind of passion to their craft that has brought about great artists. From Once director John Carney, Begin Again once again reaches your soul with some beautiful original music that accompanies a story that is easy to relate to and will make you fall in love with New York City without ever having been there.