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Posts Tagged ‘Begin Again movie review’

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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

I will see any movie that is about music provided that the music doesn’t get lost in a melodramatic story such as in the failed bios about Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, and even the Jersey Boys.  Begin Again is a music movie which actually is about music.

It is a romantic comedy set one summer in New York City. Keira Knightley, the English actress,  plays Gretta, a singer-songwriter, who has just broken up with her newly-successful musician boyfriend played by real-life rocker Adam Levine.   If she looks familiar it’s because she’s been in 40 movies, and she is only 29.

Gretta is idealistic and she despairs that her unique compositions will never be heard. By chance, while she is performing one of her songs in an East Village joint, her music is heard by Dan, a down-on-his-luck record exec. played by Mark Ruffalo.

Her singing is subdued, and her song, though very nice, is stiff, and the audience is indifferent.    Yet Dan, despite his drunken depressed state,  hears something original in the music, and this scene, played over again a few times through the eyes of different characters, got my attention when Dan imagines that some instruments on stage—cello, violin, bass, piano, drums—- come to life and provide an orchestral background so that we can hear what he hears in his mind’s eye.

He tells Gretta that he wants to help her make an album and he proposes the novel idea that they record outdoors at different locations around town. They hire musicians, Dan produces the album, and the result is excellent, tempered by the ambient sounds of the city.

Begin Again  then becomes the story of the making  of a winning musical production done in a very unorthodox manner, and that is the part that is original and captivating.

There are some sub-plots regarding the characters and their personal lives, but mostly the film is about music.  Dan and Gretta get to begin again personally and musically, and we get to enjoy the results.

At the end of the film, as the credits roll, we learn how this unusual album gets marketed in a 21st century way. Unfortunately, that part wasn’t presented very clearly, and probably should have been eliminated.

I recommend this movie.  It is honest, enjoyable, and memorable—qualities not often seen these days at the movies.

We give it 3 1/2  Blogfingers.

ADAM LEVINE:  From the soundtrack of Begin Again:  “No One Else Like You.”

 

Begin Again is currently playing at the Bow Tie Cinema on White Street in Red Bank.  Here is a trailer:

 

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  On August 8, Woody Allen’s film  Magic in the Moonlight opens, and it  looks like a winner to me, despite some negative advance reviews,;  but I will see it and probably like it, because it contains all those wonderful Woody attributes:  Original story written and directed by  him, setting music, cinematography and humor. It also will be at the Bow Tie in Red Bank.

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