Forgotten Classics: Begin Again

The other night, I was sitting around, attempting to stave off boredom. Eventually, the thought dawned on me to go onto Netflix and simply browse to see if there was anything good. After 15 minutes, I discovered a film that I had heard about, and had been meaning to watch for some time, Begin Again.

I knew of this film, mostly through the director, John Carney. Carney was behind the 2006 indie darling, Once, as well as a number of TV projects. While I had never seen any of these projects, I had always meant to watch them. Given this option, I decided now would be a good opportunity to give one a try.

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Nearly two hours later I had finished Begin Again, and was utterly blown away by the fact, that this film had eluded me for so long. So shocked was I at this discovery, that the following evening, I sat down with a friend to see if I had over reacted. Her reaction was very much the same to my own.

Begin Again focuses on the relationship between Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a down on his luck music producer, and Gretta (Keira Knightley), a singer/songwriter who has just broken up with a rising pop star. Together the two set about producing an album, while also helping each other with the problems in their lives. While this plot may seem relatively standard to a regular moviegoer, the way the film executes it, is surprising and genuinely heartfelt.

The film has a spectacular cast, that all give entrancing performances. James Corden provides warmth in his portrayal of Gretta’s best friend, Steve, while Hailee Steinfeld walks a fine line between endearing and annoying, in the role of Dan’s daughter. Surprisingly, even Adam Levine gives a solid performance as Gretta’s former boyfriend, Dave.

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James Corden, Hailee Steinfeld and Adam Levine

However, the film lives and breathes on the performances delivered by Ruffalo and Knightley. Simply put, the two have an incredible on-screen chemistry. Throughout the events of the film, we can see clearly how and why these two were drawn to each other. I dare not say anymore, as to do would risk spoiling the film.

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Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley

The songs present in the film have been stuck in my head for days. Each song has a unique and quirky feel to it, that highlights the best traits of indie rock. I promise that you will be humming, Tell me if you Wanna go Home, A Step You Can’t Take Back and Lost Stars for quite some time after the film has finished.

Keira Knightley Performing A Step You Can’t Take Back

As far as the direction goes, Carney brings a faux documentary style to the proceedings. This is achieved through a significant use of handheld cameras. The closest thing I could compare it to would be The Thick of It, but even that isn’t a perfect comparison.

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John Carney

In the end, I don’t think a film has more pleasantly surprised me in quite some time. In a moment where I wasn’t feeling the best, this movie came along and picked up my spirits. I find it deeply disappointing that this film has not reached as wide a market as it should have, so here, on my own tiny shoebox, I implore you to see Begin Again. Don’t let it become another lost star.

Begin Again Trailer

Written By James Campbell

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