Released in 2013, Begin Again is a music-centered drama starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld, James Corden and Adam Levine. In the film, A chance encounter between a disgraced music-business executive and a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan turns into a promising collaboration between the two talents.
Begin Again celebrates the beauty of music in life, and it does it in a way that is so good and pleasing that it’s basically all that you’d stay around for. It is one of those movies that wants you to get into a jolly mood with the songs that it sings, but also makes us realize what we could all become with the virtually inspiring story that it tells. One of pain and hope, these two themes in its narrative gets applied and leaves much for us to contemplate about, most specially with its actors who seem to be doing an amazing job in spite of an average script. Mark Ruffalo is undoubtedly perfect for the role that he took on, and shows us exactly why with every word that comes out of his mouth thanks to his carrying of the character and the delivery of his lines. He may have played an archetypal role, but it’s undeniable that seeing him onscreen even in the opening scene immediately makes you want to care about what happens to the character that he’s playing. The film’s early moments involving him stand out as one of its best (aside from the ones involving the music) with the blend of drama and humor that he delivers.
Ruffalo’s performance alone makes this film better than what it ended up being, yet that statement couldn’t be said without praising the fantastic job done by Keira Knightley as well. From all of that, we get a mixed feeling of worrying, understanding and despise, but if the film emphasized on them without losing its music-fueled energy, then the end product definitely could’ve been so much better. The screenwriter’s unwise picking of plot points lessened the concern that we felt for these characters in the beginning as it gets eventually wiped out. Why? there’s nothing too interesting left. Everything that is told about them is cliched and normal, but infuriatingly so? No. Again, why? These cliches are turned into magnificent beauties that surround the film’s vibe thanks mostly to the delicate handling of the direction. But still, it’s just so sad to see this film begin on an amazing note, get in mid-way with a slight mediocrity and end just like how it began albeit with a lessened effect. Sadly, it couldn’t pick itself up mid-way with the strength that it used to begin itself; mainly for how the character development gets ironically overshadowed with its musical vitality.
The funniest thing all of is that it makes us want to act as if we still care about the characters and the story after it has infested our ears with wonderful music that overtakes the whole point that it tried to make. Rather than seeing those two coming hand in hand to supposedly deliver something that touches our hearts as opposed to being soul-uplifting, it just becomes what it basically wanted to be like in the first place-a normal yet feel-good indie drama with music serving as the backdrop to give a little twist to the normality of films like it that we got used to. It was indeed something that it knew how to sell, and we do get to care again about these people as it reaches its end, but we do so with a little less investment.
While the climax to it is beautifully done with the music blaring in the background and glimpses of the characters being shown, we still couldn’t help but feel that this movie lacked just what it needed as the music tended to take over the characters and even the film as a whole. Begin Again still felt normal and yes, cliched in spite of having such an indie approach in its direction. But then again, with what it has laid out onscreen for us to enjoy, ignoring the good vibes that it produces in spite of it having some average filmmaking becomes a hard thing to do as it triumphs in demanding you to vibe along to its soulfulness.