It would be a great disservice to those who read and follow this blog if I don’t mention this movie. I think it wouldn’t be too bold for me to say that Begin Again is the best and most enjoyable movie I have seen in the past five years. How can I best describe the experience of this movie? Imagine you’re sick and miserable, and suddenly someone brings you chicken noodle soup. That’s how it felt to watch Begin Again.
It’s not new. This charming John Carney movie starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo was released in 2013. How it managed to slip me by for this long, I have no idea. But I think you’d regret missing it, as I did.
A failing, lonely, slightly alcoholic music producer and a heartbroken musical Brit make an unlikely team and create an album– and each song is recorded in a unique spot in New York City. Their progression through the album becomes the story, a story of healing, finding joy, and beginning again.
There are no dearth of delightful characters in this movie, played by Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, James Cordon and Hailee Steifeld. I do feel that Mark Ruffalo was the backbone of the film. His portrayal was absolutely realistic, raw, and downright likable, despite how dysfunctional he is.
And if we get to the real point, the music, is just fantastic. Every song is intentional and enjoyable. Each song feels like an unwinding, a release from a layer of disappointment, of sadness. The music becomes the journey, and it brings everyone together, and it reminds everyone of who they really are, assures them that they’re going to be all right. Just… watch this movie.
After Begin Again, I watched an earlier John Carney movie, Once (2006). Once is just as brilliant, albeit with a slightly sadder ending I thought. It took me about a week to watch Once because every time I heard a song, I was so overwhelmed that I had to pause and proceed to listen to that song on loop for the next couple of hours. If you like Begin Again, you’d like Once too.