Begin Again – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

begin againBegin Again – 4/5 – Surprised; that is a reaction you normally don’t get when watching a film of this stature.   Regardless of what movie you watch, you aren’t usually thrown a curve ball.  When it does happen, you find that the experience is something unexpected.  Begin Again is that movie that isn’t on anyone’s radar.  After watching it, it’s one that should be on everyone’s watch list.  Begin Again brings those ‘feel good’ themes and spices them up enough to provide an enjoyable film.

Premise:  An encounter from fateful chance; two people will discover that even when their down, the music will bring them purpose, and show them how to live again.

In this film, it focuses on two characters.  These main characters are:

Keira Knightley as Gretta

Mark Ruffalo as Dan

These two people play a couple of ‘down and out’ people who have hit the perceptive ‘dead end’ in their lives.  Their paths intersect early in the film; and within that first connection we see a heartfelt friendship that forms.  From the get go, you see how both have distinct but compatible personalities.  Knightley brings to the screen a very witty, shy but intelligent woman in Gretta; where as Ruffalo brings forth a smart ass, arrogant but hearty fellow in Dan.  Both are slick and humorous with their dialogue, which helps create a humanly aspect to their relationship, and their involvement with other people in the movie.  What makes the film have that emotional heartbeat is seeing how the contrasting personalities blend together, forming a bond that is raw and authentic.  There is no forced ’emotions’ are ‘angst’, everything flows fluidly as if you were there; living their lives trying to find a way to be successful and happy again.  The smart conversations are also a great blend of exposition and musical passion; helping create a deep motion when they sing and make music together.  Passion is very subtle, but it is a sweet reaction when those moments happen.  When it comes to the secondary cast, you have:

James Corden as Steve

Hailee Steinfeld as Violet

Catherine Keener as Miriam Hart

Adam Levine as Dave Kohl

Mos Def and Cee-lo Green make interesting cameos, but they aren’t as powerful as the four above.  With the secondary cast, you have a great mix of background dimensional character that help provide enough ‘conflict’ that helps stir up logic and reason for the main characters; causing them to move forward.  Even though there is a lot of predictable behavior and obvious clichés that involve relationship and family themes; all the secondary cast (including those not mention) are complimented with a realism aspect.

The direction of this film is a straight forward tale of redemption.  Explained in terms of the basic three acts, the films goes as followed:

First Act: Prologue of main characters; plot device enacted of ‘fall’ scenario

Second act: ‘Connection’ found; redemption angle progression commences

Third act: Mixture of exposition, reactive elements; Epiphany for main characters, climax and ‘full circle’ ending

This is the backbone for the story; which is very simple in itself.  When we are introduced to both Gretta and Dan, they have befallen on some really hard times.  Through the cliché setup of these ‘downfalls’, the connecting of dots ‘conveniently’ brings both at a local music scene.  When the ‘connection’ forms, we lead down a linear path that blends purpose, worth with the aspect of the music industry of the 21st century.  In this fixed mixture, the film goes beyond its simplistic ‘redemption’ angle bring you a riveting tale that really speaks to the reality of struggle on a personal note.  What helps create that raw tone is the slick dialogue, the believable characters and the musical moments.  When this happens, you see how the delicate balance of tone, pace and structure helps envelope an experience that shines a line on human nature; how failures in life shouldn’t stop you from bettering yourself.  Even for the poignant threads, the film does have to reel in these through some form of direction.  This is when the film adds predictable kinks that link the second and third acts.  Once you get to the third act, both Gretta and Dan have to face the truth about their lives, and find what it means to be true.  Here, you get a climax that is funny, charming but gives you the obvious ‘feel good’ emotion.  In these final moments, you see as the path of redemption comes full circle, and the main characters find reasoning within new and old things, especially the purpose of the music they created.  This complete circle helps create a welcomed ending, one where you find why this film is touching.  When that happens, anything that seemed bothersome in the simplicity goes to the wayside, as you fall into the moment and drift into the scenic montage of these people finding their true selves again.

The visuals of the film would be something you wouldn’t care about, but seeing as how the film takes that ‘simplistic approach’; you really feel the emotions through the generic complexion of the city life.  With a very common look at everyday life in NYC, the glimpse of subtlety and static allure helps ground sensations, making you enjoy how the characters try to better themselves.  The score is such a great compliment within the film, including the musical acts the main characters put on display.  The doubling of the music from the characters and the overall scope of the film creates an atmospheric effect, melding together in a seamless fashion.  If the story has a very generic approach, the music helps drown that with a complexion that takes the coating off the characters and show rawness in that story.

Begin Again is a film that is very typical on the surface, but becomes a moving experience.  This is a film that truly surprised me, and one I think everyone will enjoy.  If you’re looking for a film to see this weekend, check it out.  You won’t be disappointed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *