Monday thoughts on “Begin Again”

Begin Again posterI haven’t been wandering the cool confines of a movie theater much this summer. Declining ticket sales can be explained by not wanting to spend the money and just not having much time, but more than anything? There hasn’t been much I’ve wanted to see. No preview that’s really tickled my fancy.

But at the suggestion of my family, we trekked out to see “Begin Again” on Saturday. I didn’t know what to expect beyond Adam Levine being a bad boyfriend and Keira Knightley singing (?) and Mark Ruffalo being totally down on his luck . . . and maybe that’s why I was completely blown away?

Because I was. I was blown away. It was actually . . . amazing.

Knightley plays Gretta, a young musician who follows her boyfriend (Levine) and his own rising star to New York City. Nervously playing in a grungy bar the night before she’s set to flee home to England, she attracts the attention of a music executive whose recent antics have gotten him ousted from the indie label he founded. Hearing Gretta — even amidst the rude shouting and drunken chatter — reignites his desire to produce music that means something, and the two embark on a journey that changes everything.


That’s the simple version. But it doesn’t tell you anything about how romantic, sweet, inspiring, thoughtful and beautifully shot it is; you need me for that, eh? “Begin Again” is about second chances, moving forward, thriving in the face of loss . . . and it’s just full of emotion, though not in a schmaltzy way. I’m not generally a huge fan of Keira Knightley — nothing personal, I mean, she’s just not a fave — but wow, color me impressed. And Adam Levine as a self-absorbed but loveable pop star? I totally bought it.

I kid. But really, his acting? Singing? Ability to look gorgeous? Not bad.

As you’d hope from a film about aspiring musicians and the ever-changing business itself, the tunes and soundtrack were fantastic. As we were leaving the theater, I told my sister how much it reminded me of the lovely “Once” . . . and then I started to Google and discovered it was directed by John Carney, who directed — you guessed it! — “Once.” (It’s, um, also on the poster, but I didn’t inspect that ahead of time.) Glen Hansard co-wrote a song, too.

When I’m on, I’m on.

The many layers of “Begin Again” are what made it work so spectacularly for me — and more than anything, it’s an homage to falling in love. With a person or a place (New York City, indeed), yes, but also a passion and a calling. The whole film is about passion, really, and it moved me. I can’t pinpoint another recent movie I’ve loved as much — so much that I’d run back out and see it again tomorrow.

I’m pretty much in love with “Lost Stars,” one of the signature tracks, and have played it more than I’d care to admit to you before we’ve all had our coffee.

So. Yes.

That’s pretty much what I wanted to talk about today, mostly because I’m heading into one of the busiest work weeks of my year and my brain is pretty much guaranteed to be crispy like a fried-green tomato by Friday evening. I kind of want to just think about “Begin Again” like a fangirl, eat lots of marshmallows and hide under my desk, but I am 29 now. Guess I’d better go put on my sensible work heels and hustle.

Or maybe I’ll keep watching the video instead.

 

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22 thoughts on “Monday thoughts on “Begin Again”

  1. wow! you made me look forward seeing this one.. i havent been in cinemas myself this past few months.. and maybe begin again might not do the tricks.. but still im gonna see this one, because you simply talked me into it, or rather blogged me into it. hehe thanks for the heads up! :)

  2. Ooh ok. I was worried it might be a ‘Hollywoodised’ (yep, I just made up a word) version of Once, which is one of my favourite films of all time. But you’ve sold it to me – will check it out. Thanks! :)

    • I’m a huuuuuge fan of “Once,” too, Liz — and I’m kind of glad I didn’t know the films share a director until afterward; it may have altered my expectations. But either way, “Begin Again” is an excellent movie in its own right — hope you love it, too!

  3. This review made me smile! I saw the trailer for this film when I went to see The Fault in Our Stars with a friend, and we were both like “oooh, we need to see this!”. I never really trust trailers, though, so I’m glad you posted your thoughts on the film. Definitely want to go and see it now!

    • Yay! I’m actually totally behind the times and haven’t seen “The Fault In Our Stars” yet myself . . . guess I just know it’s going to make me cry? And I’m not into that right now? Ha. Plus, I kind of wanted to read the book first . . . we’ll see when that happens! Hmm.

  4. Oh my! I’ve had this movie in my mind for the past month since I saw the trailer. I have to be honest and say that I’m still nor convinced about Adam Levine acting skills but hands down Once is my fav movie EVER also just knowing that Glen Hansard wrote a song <3 lets just say I'll be in heaven when I get to see this :) sorry I rambled I'm just exited hahahaha

    • You know, Adam spent most of his time singing — but his acting was really not bad! I was impressed, actually. I mean, I don’t think he’s headed for Oscar territory, but he certainly portrayed his character well (maybe because they’re so similar . . .?). If you love “Once,” I really think you’ll like this one, too!

  5. I loved Once. Many people (my sister, who reviews movies for a living) loathed it with a fierce passion. I don’t know, it made me sentimental and dreamy. So I really would be up to see this one. Unfortunately nobody in my family is sentimental or dreamy, so. May have to wait for Netflix.

    • People actually loathe “Once”?! Really? I absolutely adore “Once” . . . I think it’s unbelievably enchanting and, yes, very dreamy. Well, anyone who hated that one may not take to “Begin Again,” but their loss. ;) Don’t miss this one, Sandy — either now or on Netflix!

  6. My mom recommended this movie but she sold it as something that would make me fall in love with Adam Levine so I thought…meh, don’t have a desire to be doing that. She’s convinced I need to love him as much as her America Idol watching self does. Your arguments are much more convincing. I will be checking it out.

    • I laughed out loud at your comment about not having a desire to fall for Adam, ha! I can’t say his character was the most endearing guy in the world, but I was definitely swooning by the end. And during “Lost Stars.” And when he was wearing his geeky-chic glasses in the beginning. And . . . well. I’ll stop before my husband rolls his eyes any harder at me. ;) Hope you love this one too, Jess!

  7. I’ve been waiting for a good movie for soooooooo loooooong. I thought one was never going to come out. The last good film I saw was “about Time ” loved it. I’m hoping this one will be the same.

    • My sister has raved about “About Time” (two abouts! eek!) for months, but I still haven’t seen it — sigh. Definitely adding that to my “to see” list, too.

  8. I really want to go see this. I read an article about it a while back so I knew about the connections to “Once” which is part of what makes me think I’ll love it probably as much as you did!

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