Begin Again is not the conventional romantic comedy, anyone expecting this will be in for a disappointing time. However if like me you are tired of this repetitive albeit guilty pleasure type of movie this is a refreshing change.
The plot revolved around the story of Dan (Mark Ruffalo) a washed up music producer who discovers the talented singer Greta (Keira Knightly) at a bar. Together they decide to produce an album to show off her talent to Dan’s old record company with the help of Greta’s friend Steve (James Corden) and even a small role for Cee Lo Green.
Begin Again also features Adam Levine of Maroon 5 fame as Greta’s boyfriend Dave. I found the transformation of Dan a particularly interesting and poignant one for the film. He and Greta started the film as a happy go lucky couple with Dave sporting the somewhat guy next door look. As he and Greta became more distant and he became more lost to the music industry his look became more commercial. This commercial side of music is a recurrent theme throughout the film and one that is not often explored in films. It was nice to see it laid bare in a more honest way in this film rather than the clichéd notion that just because you have an amazing voice you will have immediate fame and success. Begin Again shows that this just isn’t true not only do you have to work, you probably won’t make a lot of money out of it.
Knightley’s Greta is also an interesting character – it’s her first high profile “girl next door” role in many years. It’s refreshing to see Knightley in the type of role that brought her to public acclaim; it’s a role that definitely suits her. Knightley’s singing was also a surprise with a beautifully sorrowful and pensive quality to it; definitely not what I was expecting.
The singing aspects of the film are well mixed into the film; each song recorded in the film seems genuine – there are no High School Musical type let’s sing for no reason – each location chosen represents a different part of New York’s soul: from the subway to the shadow of the Empire State building.
But the perhaps the most interesting thing about the romance in this “romantic comedy” is that by the end you don’t want what could be viewed as a potential romance between the characters of Greta and Dan to happen at all. A particularly interesting idea that the cinema goer next to me also expressed when the two got particularly close in one of the final scenes of the film. They have such a strong friendship by the end that would undoubtedly be reunited by a romantic liaison; they end up saving each other but not in an amorous way.
The ending was left remarkably wide open with Greta on her way to achieving success and Dan’s future looking brighter. Unusually it’s a film worth watching all the way to the very last minute as some interesting scenes take place after the credits start rolling. This I found to be slightly unconventional but nevertheless a way of keeping the audience engaged to the very end of the film.