— Amanda Seyfried as Karen Smith from Mean Girls, 2004
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July 1, 2014
Begin Again: Summer’s Must See Indie Sings a Sweet, Sincere Tune
— Posted by Kenny Miles
Originally titled Can A Song Save Your Life, The Weinstein Company purchased John Carney’s follow up to Once at last year’s Toronto Film Festival and re-titled it a more uplifting Begin Again. Audiences should cherish this movie as they did with Once. Yet, I could see Begin Again potentially be a bigger hit than Once was at the box office. Like a popular music video online, audiences might make Begin Again a viral hit.
Synopsis: The latest film from writer-director John Carney (ONCE), BEGIN AGAIN is a soul-stirring comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together. Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City. BEGIN AGAIN is produced and financed by Exclusive Media and produced by Anthony Bregman, Tobin Armbrust and Judd Apatow. (C) Weinstein
I adored every moment of Begin Again. Once director John Carney succeeds in creating a mainstream, urban romance set to music. The New York background plus the simple, quirky touches were fantastic. The sincere story of two souls unexpectedly connecting provides hope in determination and that a little luck can go along way. I enjoyed the mutual and platonic chemistry between Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo in their performances. There’s a moment where they listen to the same playlist of songs while traveling through New York City that could become a classic movie moment.
Another aspect I enjoyed about Begin Again is the soundtrack. The music was very catchy and first rate, old fashioned pop music. The soundtrack will become popular among viewers who see Begin Again. Like the Oscar winning music in Once, you will want to listen to music multiple times so owning the soundtrack is to be expected.
Life is tough and Begin Again is the perfect escape from moviegoers eager to do just that. The quote on the advertising for Begin Again aptly states, “A summer movie for the rest of us.” Begin Again is a satisfying and sophisticated alternative to the big budget blockbusters. I highly recommend you seek this movie out. It is the ideal summer indie movie.
I rate Begin Again an 8 out of 10.
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Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.
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