Review for Begin Again
Struggling Record Producer Dan is desperate the find the next big thing and he thinks he has when he sees Gretta playing a song at an Open Mic and is completely captivated with her and her music. Gretta had come to New York with her boyfriend Dave who had just hit big with a movie and is recording his solo album. While recording he cheats on Gretta and she leaves, moving in with fellow Brit Steve who is also a singer.
On hearing her, Dan takes Gretta to his studio who are unimpressed and want a demo before they will consider her. He decides to forget the contract and studio and to record the entire album in and around New York. This results in them playing in subways, alleys, rooftops and more and brings Dan the hope he needed and closer to his estranged wife and daughter. It also gives Gretta the chance to prove that she never needed Dave to make great music.
I loved this movie. I simply adored it. I will not whinge about the pretentious opening that tells the same scene from different points of view or the inconsistencies of the plot with Dan going from being poor to affording to pay people to play. Or indeed why when he asks the help of Troublegum (played by Cee Lo Green) who lives in a mansion, why instead of just asking him to fund the album, he only asks for use of a few of his musicians. I won't query what exactly Dave did to get this fame, as it's never really explained whether he starred in a movie or just made a song... or...
No... I will simply say that if you want to watch a movie that makes you smile. This is that movie. Mark Ruffalo is excellent as the down and out Dan and his interactions with everyone from his wife played by the wonderful Catherine Keener to his former partner played by Mos Def are just perfect. Keira Knightley as Gretta is your typical English out of water character, but it works and though I don't know whether she was doing the singing, if it was it was pretty good in an Aimee Mann-way. Adam Levine (from Maroon 5) as Dave is perfect as the self-centred singer who dumps Gretta for a character so bland that when he says her name Mim, I will defy anyone who can even remember what she looks like.
The plot moves quick and this is not a film that outstays its welcome. In fact there were times when I really wish I could see more and it is a shame that there are no other deleted scenes or anything else from these characters to watch. What you get is a very simple, nice and watchable movie that is not going to set the world on fire, but not going to harm it either. This isn't the awful sappiness of a Nicholas Sparks' movie, but love as it really happens and I loved every minute of it.
Included in the extras is a Making of, which is fine, but this is not a film that really needed how it was made explained to me. It has a few interesting points about certain parts, but overall just a filler extra. But it does include music videos from this film and that is something that I will commend the movie on as this is the first film in a long time that made me seek out its album (which is amazing if anyone wanted to know). The videos are simply just the sections from the film, with fancy lyrics on the screen and this is a great way to do this when music is a big part of what made the film so perfect. I do wish more had been made of this or if there had been a feature on the creation and writing of the songs. I would not be surprised if an amazing song like Lost Stars or the Music in general doesn't sweep the Awards this year.
Begin Again is a film that I will be recommending to everyone who just wants to enjoy a happy film. Sure there are the bleak moments (it is a romantic film afterall), but it is these moments that make you enjoy and appreciate the happiness the rest gives you. If you are a couple and want a nice film to snuggle on the couch to, then this is the movie. If you are inviting that special someone to your place to watch a movie... put down Predator... and pick this one up, you will thank me later.