Cinematic Releases: Begin Again

Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo star in one of this summer's most delightful efforts.

"Did you just say you have
a problem with my
hyper trendy beard?"

Boundless chemistry between leads, Knightley and Ruffalo, mixed with a shockingly good performance from Maroon 5 front man, Adam Levine, makes Begin Again one of the sincerest films of 2014. Hailee Steinfeld and Mos Def both play in supporting roles while a mopey Catherine Keener plays third wheel to all of them. But the main star of the film is the hook based music and Knightley's truly gifted voice for folk oriented pop songs. Yes folks, she really sings and she's torturously good.
Unlike most other movies released this summer, Begin Again is an engaging drama comedy hybrid that brings something unique to the blockbuster season. It's a movie about failed relationships and the cold, hard lifestyle as a professional musician. But at the core, Begin Again is a film that's primary focus is on repairing broken hearts through the therapy of writing great music with like minded individuals that want nothing more than to create something beautiful together.

"This in acoustic cover of Slayer!!"
Begin Again succeeds in its nearly perfect delivery of its heart tugging message, yet struggles with its overtly sentimental plot points that tend to feel a bit unrealistic if not too sugary sweet at times.  But I'd be lying if I said I didn't fall in love with this movie immediately. This isn't the type of film you don't like. Begin Again is drama, musical, comedy, and lower budget indie blended into an experience with characters that feel grounded and lifelike. And again, the soundtrack and outdoor musical performances make this a unique experience at the cinema with main characters you just want to see succeed at life.

Ruffalo and Knightley are a perfect team that seamlessly plays off each other with an enchanting appeal and instinctive dedication to natural flowing dialogue. These two feel like old pals that have been making movies together for years. Nothing feels forced and their adaptive skills at switching genres routinely adds even more to a film that might have failed if it weren't for two such unique actors and a director that has this type of musical romance on lockdown.

Begin Again will probably go down as one of the best of the year. It's a timely piece that features modern themes about the flailing music industry, messages about failed adult relationships, and lends hope to those that are struggling to survive in the creative arts.

-Chris George