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MOVIE REVIEW - Begin Again

on 03 July 2014.

Wow, here comes a big glass of refreshment at the theaters this summer, the new music biz movie, Begin Again.

This is a small movie, that tells a small story, with big relevance, and complete sincerity.  This is the story of two down-and-outers, at different phases of their lives, and how they can possibly rebuild their lives through their friendship and love of music.

Dan (Mark Ruffalo) was a once huge music mogul, who has fallen on hard times over the past few years.  The business has passed him by, and he no longer seems to have the magic touch to find, produce and market up and coming talent.  He is fired from his job, his wife Miriam (Katherine Keener) has left him and this teenage daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld) doesn't know him.  He is on the verge of ending it all when he stumbles into a New York City bar and hears a young woman singing on Open Mic Night.

Her name is Gretta (Keira Knightley).  She was just dumped by her now rock star boyfriend, Dave (Adam Levine). She is a songwriter herself, and has a fierce conviction that music should be substantive, and authentic.   She meets Dan, and they form a quirky partnership to start making music together.  But since neither one has any money, they come up with a great idea.  Dan will record Gretta and her music on the streets of New York, with simple musicians, and all the ambiance that the street has to offer.  Will the project make it?  And is this the start of something big? And can each of them rebuild themselves?



This movie is simply great.  So amazingly original, and so well done in every facet, it makes you wish there were more like it.   The story is one you have not seen before, and that always scores with me.  This movie is perfectly cast, and all give great performances, all being asked to do what they do best.  Ruffalo is great, Steinfeld at 18, still has not been involved in a bad movie, and Levine holds his own in his small role.

But this movie belongs to the sensationally flawed Keira Knightley.   She is just becoming so alluring as an adult actress that it's hard not to be glued to her on screen.  Her look is original, her way is natural, she is incredibly likable here, and did all her own singing and there is plenty of it. And she is fabulous.  Her beauty as an actress is in her flaws.  Movie makers are smart to embrace them and so does she.  She is 29 years old now, and really becoming one of my faves in movie after movie. She is terrific here.  She is on a nice movie roll too, and that helps, doing good projects.

The music written for this movie is great and very listenable, as it is well done, and not over done.  The music along with Knightley really take over this movie.  Fun performances too from Ceelo Green and Mos Def give this some real fun too.   Mix this all up, and this is everything that is good about going to the movies. This is in somewhat limited release, but it's worth going to see. If you love good movies, and good music, this is for you.

Begin Again. Simply terrific in every single way.  Along with Chef, one of the years best movies so far.

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