When you hear the plot behind Begin Again; an English heartbroken singer-songwriter feeling lost in New York meets a down on his luck alcoholic music producer, you will probably think ‘cliché’. And normally you would be right. But fortunately, Begin Again stays just on the right side the line between chirpy and cheesy.
The cast is an eclectic mix of people, from Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine making his first move into acting by playing the ex-boyfriend, to English funny man James Corden stealing the scenes with witty one liners. Gretta, played by Keira Knightley, is perfectly charming and likeable, and her strong moral views brings the film about ‘follwing your dreams’ back down the earth. Mark Ruffalo’s character, Dan, was someone that I found quite annoying at the beginning of the film as he was in the midset of his own pity party and was verging on whiny. But luckily as the film goes on, you realise his back story through a series of flashbacks and the sympathy starts to kick in.
Another major factor in watching a film about a singer is that the music has to be damn good to keep the audience hooked. Which it is. Although part of the plot is that one of the songs by Gretta’s ex-boyfriend is overly commercialised, I actually really liked the track. Keira Knightley has a surprisingly good singing voice as well, and all of her songs are cutesie and upbeat, which was perfect for the vibe of the film. And of course, Adam Levine and his voice are perfection. I will definitely be downloading at least three of the songs.
I also thought the plot of the film was very clever, as there were subtleties running between the two main characters as you realise their stories mirror each other. On the surface, it seems like Gretta and Dan are complete opposites of each other with nothing but music and a bad turn in circumstances to connect them but as the film goes on, you realise they have more in common than meets the eye, making them both that little bit more endearing.
My only qualm with the film is that I find it quite weird that the story makes a point about Dan’s old record company taking unnecessary money as if it is very much against it, yet the actual soundtrack album is selling for $12.99 on US ITunes. I don’t know if I’m being overly picky but I think it would have been nice for the film to follow the message that they were trying to send to the audience (money and fame is not everything, just in case you miss it.) But that is only a small thing.
All in all, if you’re in need of a happy film to see this summer, this one is probably for you. There is not a lot wrong with it at all, and although I did not fall in love with it, there is nothing I can really fault about it. Even the pickiest of film watchers will most likely enjoy this.