Begin Again, Hollywood English Film Movie Review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * * 1/2

Begin Again, Hollywood English Film Movie Review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: *  *  * 1/2

#Begin Again(English) Rating: *  *  * ½  previously titled ‘#CanASongSaveYourLife?’, this musical romcom about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together, gradually gets you in the mood for music and love. And #KeiraKnightley can sing soulfully too! #JohnCarney  #AdamLevine #MarkRuffalo #PVRDirectorsRare #catherineKeener #WeinsteinCo

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English Film review
Johnson Thomas
Singing Romcom
Film: Begin Again
Cast: Keira Knightley, Adam Levine, Mark Ruffalo,
Director: John Carney
Rating: * * * 1/2
Running Time: 101 min.

Synopsis:An ambitious young female singer moves to New York City in search of stardom, but finds only disappointment until falling for a struggling record producer who helps her down the road to fame.
This showbiz based drama written and directed by John Carney(Once, Zonad), toplining Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine in his debut movie, is about lost souls meeting and making beautiful music together after experiencing some tough personal issues. College sweethearts, songwriting duo and long-term couple Greta(Keira Knightley)  and Dave(Adam Levine)move to New York when Dave is offered a deal with a major music label. Dave, given the sudden and varied opportunity, strays and leaves a lovelorn Greta bereft and alone. Soon enough she meets a disgraced record label exec, Dan(Mark Ruffalo) who stumbles upon her talent while she is performing at an East Village stage. Captivated by her talent he sets out to help her achieve fame and fortune and in the process of course they fall in love. And then Dave comes back begging to get taken back into Gretta’s life…

John Carney’s treatment of romance is a little asexual. There’s a lot of sweetness and compatibility in the relationship between the two but the passion and sex are missing…or it’s not in sight- at least for the viewer. But that’s not a bad thing altogether because you get to see the two Greta and Dan coming to terms with their past and blending together for a stronger more secure future.  

The narrative recounts both points of view. Dan tells his story from his point of view and then it’s Gretta’s turn, So ‘Begin Again’ does appear to be an appropriate moniker. Separated from his music journo wife Miriam (Catherine Keener), Dan has problems dealing with their petulant teenage daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld) and  he’s also out of touch with the current music set-up. Since he hasn’t brought in a bankable new act in years, he gets kicked out of his job by Saul (Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def). Then it’s Gretta’s recount of her own shaky hurtful past with Dave.   

Thereafter, Carney’s narrative does the couple thing. A drunken Dan and an interested Gretta decide to make a demo album along with some seed money received from Rap artiste(Ceelo Green) who owes his career to Dan. So off they go, recording everything differently- outdoors, the natural way!What follows is not predictable so the interest remains kindled.

The film is of course powered by music, sentiments, performances and involving treatment. The love ballads have an evocative refrain that lends attachment. The performances are perfectly keyed. Keira Knightly sings soulfully and performs with an assurance of a thespian. Mark Ruffalo, does a food take on cash-strapped boozard. While Catherine Keener, as his estranged and bitter wife looks suited to the role. Both Ruffalo and Keener have essayed these sort of roles before so their familiarity with the nuances makes them look perfect. Adam Levine in his debut, does a solid act. Bery much the egoistic teen idol whose values go for a toss when fame and popularity pummel into his life! There’s no doubt that the Irish director of ‘Once’ has remodeled this take on the same story , albeit on a bigger and better scale, riding on waves of humor, pain and romance. And he has pulled it off beautifully!


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