I think I fell in love with Keira Knightley first when I watched Pride & Prejudice. Her character as a rebellious young woman searching for love appealed to the romantic parts of my heart and the whole countryside setting added to the charm of the story. Since then I’ve been a fan of her work. All of us grew up listening to Adam Levine’s perfect falsetto in Maroon V songs and watching him coach amateur singers in the Voice USA made me wish that I had vocal cords that could do more than talking. He was the perfect celebrity crush, with those tattoos and that irresistible smile. The next person I’m going to talk about has played an important role in not just The Avengers franchise but also small yet equally significant roles in countless other movies. He has been known to bend to the nature of each character he portrays and has been awarded Oscars for his work. Mark Ruffalo makes me smile every time I see him on screen.
Now imagine a movie with these three greats. But wait, John Carney gave us exactly that in 2013. ‘Rolling Stone gave Begin Again 3/4 stars emphasizing on the “subtle magic” of the actors’ performance and Carney’s creation of “surreal enchanting loveliness” without being overly sentimental.’ The movie apart from being nominated for an Academy Award for best original song and a Critics’ Choice Awards for Best song, left me satisfied.
That’s the only word that comes to mind, come to think of me. Satisfied, not because three talented people I love acted in it, not because of the music, which by the way, was amazing. It left me satisfied because I understood so much about emotions without so much as shedding a tear or laughing out loud. It is one of those movies that calms you down on the outside but leaves you bawling and laughing on the inside. Not many movies do that these days. No matter the language, theatres these days are noisy with people reacting to the picture. Begin Again makes you want to curl up on your bed and smile contentedly and dream.
Gretta (Knightley) and Dave (Levine) are two young people in love with themselves and the music they make in their apartment. Dave then gets an offer which needs him to move to New York and Gretta accompanies him. Meanwhile, Dan Mulligan (Ruffalo) was a successful record label executive who is estranged from his wife, struggling to keep up with the music that the youth want to hear these days. He’s fired and following this he goes on a drinking binge, which ends up with him in a bar where he meets Gretta. The young happy couple are broken up now and Gretta reunites with her friend Steve (James Corden) who urges her to sing in a bar. Now begins a new friendship, a chance for Gretta to move on, for Dan to win his job and family back, for real good music to find its way into numerous playlists.
It’s a chance for all to ‘Begin Again’.
Every song in this movie except for the ones by CeeLo (yup he’s there too!) and Lost Stars by Adam Levine, are shot on streets, on rooftops, under bridges with local children and musicians who aren’t happy in their dreary jobs. Hailee Steinfeild plays the part of Violet, Dan’s daughter, and she bonds with her father over their love for good music. This movie marked Keira Knightley’s singing debut in a film. All the songs were sung by her and it sounded absolutely amazing. I love her just that bit more now.
It’s so hard to put into words an emotion you can’t name. When Dave cheated on Gretta, I experienced anger and sadness and I wanted to punch someone, but because Gretta took it decently, I had to too. I feel like, through the whole movie, I mirrored Gretta, in her emotions and her actions. If you listen for the lyrics carefully, they make so much sense that you don’t understand what they mean because you’re only used to meaningless lyrics of breakups and hookups.
When I feel like I need a day off from life, I go to my playlist, search Begin Again and listen to the songs for the millionth time.
If you haven’t watched the movie and don’t plan on, listen to the songs on YouTube. It’s a ‘good vibes only’ feeling.
“But are we all lost stars, trying to light up the dark?”
Picture Credits: Linh Lee on Behance https://www.behance.net/gallery/18323167/Begin-Again-(2014)-movie-posters