Release Date: June 27, 2011
Director: John Carney
Writer: John Carney
Cast: James Corden, Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld, Mos Def, Karen Pittman, Paul Romero, Catherine Keener, Andrew Sellon, Ed Renninger, Eric Burton, Adam Levine, Marco Assante, Mary Catherine Garrison, Jen Jacob, Rob Morrow, Jennifer Li Jackson, Ian Brodsky, Shannon Maree Walsh, David Abeles, Ann McGowan
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 104 minutes
Production Company: The Weinstein Company, Exclusive Media Group, Sycamore Pictures, Apatow Productions
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Sometimes after what life hands us we have to hit the reset button. While some may feel condemned from this, ‘Begin Again’ gives audiences an example of what someone needs rather than what they want. It’s a film with many layers and starts out like the planting of a seed. Not seeming like much, but slowly developing into a well-crafted piece of entertainment, blossoming into a beautiful flower. The performances are top notch with mostly all the characters being relatable.
It’s amazing what can reveal itself through multiple perspectives, and this film had many. Admittedly this film started out no more exciting than cleaning erasers in a closet with no light. I found myself bored knowing that this film wasn’t designed for my particular taste. Though with all things, I stuck through the opening scene which didn’t provide much promise. Then the film started to switch gears to another character, and appeared to be more interesting than the previous. It was like a different film into itself with brighter scenes and comedic tones with no dialogue. What was really interesting is how eventually those two scenes formed together and presented a different outlook from the first that lit up like the fourth of July. It was a pleasure, and immediately drew you in. While at first the characters didn’t seem too interesting, we finally found out what motivated them. We found out how they ended up at certain points in their lives, and how they would continue to manage their days. It was a magical moment that didn’t stop until the end.
Dan’s (Mark Ruffalo) character stole the show while being funny and serious when the timed called. The chemistry he created with Greta’s (Keira Knightley) character was electric and genuine. Every second Dan was on screen he brought the thunder. He was a man down on his luck, but didn’t make excuses about it still trying to truck on. It was exactly what Greta needed to get out of the stump she was currently in.
The story was well paced and delivered a healthy plot. It moved swiftly between each scene with laughs thrown in at perfect times. It was the little things, and the mannerisms of each character that made it rich. Being able to relate to a character from not liking a certain job, or facial expressions from another spoke volumes. The story even went back to the formula of its opening, giving you back story of each character through multiple perspectives. Then gave a new meaning not to judge books by their covers, and it was nothing short of delightful.
The only negative I can comment on is even while Greta was an absolute joy to see, the film got a little boring when Dan wasn’t on screen. There was something about his presence that illuminated everything around him and made it all enjoyable. When he wasn’t on screen it was difficult to care about what was going on. It was necessary to explain how certain characters ended up in certain predicaments, but I couldn’t wait to see him again. And when I did I continued to enjoy every moment.
While only a couple of scenes didn’t work, overall things did. You’ll care about every single character and even the shady ones due to their pleas for forgiveness. It’s a very fun film that can teach you a lesson without being preachy. It can teach you to embrace what’s around you and make the best of it especially if it doesn’t appear to be too flattering. The plot is fun with an unpredictable ending, and it contains many jokes to please the masses. This is a film I would love to see again, and will recommend to all audiences.