Begin Again is a movie written and directed by John Carney who's previous film, a musical called Once, received critical acclaim and has since been turned into a Broadway hit. Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightly star along with supporting cast members like Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, Mos Def, Catherine Keener, and James Corden.
Dan (Ruffalo) is a down on his luck music producer who literally stumbles into a bar and finds his newest inspiration in the form of Gretta (Knightly), a young singer who has just ended a relationship with her budding rock star boyfriend. As business and family matters are crashing in around them, the newly formed duo decides to try and and keep things from falling apart just long enough to try and create something magical.
The very first thing I must mention about this movie is that the music will draw you in and you won't really have any other choice but to enjoy the story that unfolds around it. Some of the most brilliant scenes are ones where the Gretta and her makeshift band are practicing songs and Dan is literally piecing everything together with random ideas in his head. Mark Ruffalo is so good in this role especially with taking a character that could easily be unlikable and turning him into someone you really care about and root for.
Overall, the acting is top notch throughout except for both CeeLo Green and Adam Levine who may want to stick to singing as their chosen profession. A fun bit of trivia that I was unaware of, even while watching this movie, is that Keira Knightly actually has a great singing voice. Yes, she most certainly does sing every note of her character's songs in the movie as well as giving one of her most natural and honest acting performances to date. Hailee Steinfeld continues to impress and shows plenty of growth and maturity in her role as Dan's estranged daughter Violet.
Personally, I had a great time watching this movie. The story is solid, the acting overall is very good, and the music just makes it that much better. I could see Begin Again easily becoming another Broadway hit for John Carney at some point, but for now the movie version is definitely worth checking out.
CLICK HERE to read about all the movies I saw during SIFF 2014!