Begin Again

This was a very cute movie. Kiera Knightly is a talented but unambitious singer-songwriter about to give up on New York and go home. Mark Ruffalo is a super producer whose best days are long gone. He stumbles into a bar where she’s performing and decides he wants to make her album. She’s skeptical, but decides to give it a try. They set off on an adventure to record her music live in the middle of the city, which is a ridiculous idea, but makes for a very interesting looking movie. Their friendship develops as they work together, playing music and learning about each other.

The beginning feels disjointed because of a framing device that’s over reliant on long flashbacks at the start of the movie. It decided to explain who both of these people are before letting us see how they work together. That does a lot to flesh out their characters, but by presenting their pasts one after another before getting back to the night where they meet it takes a while for the story to start. Once it gets rolling things are better.

The supporting cast was excellent. Casting the dude from Coldplay as the asshole ex-boyfriend was a great move, I’m prejudiced against him from the start. I like James Corden as a late night host, but it’s a shame that’s stopping his acting career. He’s a great addition to this.

It’s cast full of good choices and fun cameos. Cee-lo was an absolute scene stealer when he showed up. Hailee Steinfeld is excellent as well, and Mos Def doesn’t do much, but I love it when he’s in movies.

The music was good, good enough to support the movie around it, and the idea that this movie is motivating everything in the film. But it didn’t make me want to rush out and get the soundtrack, and is sort of forgettable. As in, I enjoyed the music, but don’t have any strong impressions of why a couple weeks later. It was very nice polite indie-pop.

I’m glad it wasn’t a straight-up romance. There aren’t enough stories built around strong platonic relationships between men and women. Lots of movies are love stories, and the romantic relationships present in this movie are well done, but I’m more excited to see a story about being creative collaborators. That felt really fresh. Overall, it’s a very pleasant little movie, which I enjoyed a lot, but it didn’t leave a huge lasting impression.


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