Thursday, 3 July 2014

Film review: Begin Again



Dan (Mark Ruffalo) is a has-been record producer who hasn't managed to sign a successful artist in years. His career has fallen apart and so has his marriage, and just when he's about to give up all hope he wanders into a bar where he hears Greta (Keira Knightley) sing a charming song she wrote about being alone in the city, which hits all the right spots for him.

Greta's long-time boyfriend and writing partner Dave (Adam Levine) recently broke up with her, and she is about to take the first available flight from New York City that will bring her back to her home country of England. But Dave convinces her to stay just a little while longer and give him the chance to produce her album. Together they embark on a tour of New York City, creating beautiful, soulful music with an eclectic mixture of fellow musicians.


While the summary may make this sound like a cheesy romantic comedy film, don't be fooled into thinking that this is a run of the mill chick flick. Anything but cliché, the romantic elements are subtle and almost disappear into the background, while the love for the beautiful music these people create and the feelings they express through the songs being a much more prominent feature.

From the first moment Knightley takes a reluctant step onto the stage with just a guitar to accompany her performance, she commands presence with a gentle singing voice. This was a lovely surprise as I hadn't expected her to be quite this believable as a singer-songwriter. Ruffalo's jaded Dan balances out Greta's sweetness well, with an appealing backstory involving his wife of eighteen years and a rebelling teenager daughter (an excellent performance by Hailee Steinfeld).

This is a cinematic charmer and with songs that capture the joie de vivre of summer in the city, a surprising musical turn by Keira Knightley and a real feel-good vibe, this is one of our top films of the year thus far.

Begin Again opens in cinemas across the UK on 11th July 2014.

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