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Ruffalo and Knightley “Begin Again”

I should really get in the habit of writing reviews right after I see a movie because I saw “Begin Again” a couple days ago and now I struggle to remember any real details about it. I remember Mark Ruffalo … and there was music … and I felt kinda warm and fuzzy at the end … but that’s about it.

It’s all one vague recollection. I’ll be in Target a year from now, see it on the shelves, and think “hmm, did I see this?”

I guess that in itself says a lot about the movie.

I’m going to re-watch the trailer and see if that jogs my memory any.

Oh, right, right. I remember now.

“Begin Again” is about Keira Knightley (I don’t remember any character names so instead of googling I’m just going to refer to everyone by their real names). She’s dating Adam Levine, who is a big up-and-coming pop/rock star. His label keeps telling him how fabulous he his (even though she wrote most of his songs), he believes them and becomes super douchey and cheats on her so they break up.

She moves in with a musician friend of hers and he takes her to an open mic night and makes her perform one of her songs. Mark Ruffalo, a just-fired-from-his-own-company music executive, hears her and decides she’s really good and that they should make an album.

Only thing is they don’t have any money for studio time or musicians or whatever else you need to make an album. So, they decide they’re gonna make it outside all around New York City and use the city noises as background on the tracks.

Cee-Lo Green is also in there somewhere as a really rich superstar that Ruffalo discovered a long time ago. And there’s some stuff about Ruffalo’s estranged wife (Catherine Keener) and daughter (Hailee Steinfeld).

begin again kiera knightley mark ruffalo subwayThere were scenes that really dragged on and there were some really great moments too. I know I walked out of the theater feeling satisfied, kinda gave me the warm and fuzzy feels, so I’m going to assume that means I liked it.

A lot of this film was about relationships. Ruffalo and his ex?-wife, Knightley and her ex?-boyfriend, Ruffalo and Knightley … it’s a complicated mess, but not in a convoluted way. It felt grounded.

Do you ever watch a movie and get mad when the characters make a choice you don’t want them to? “Don’t go down those stairs,” “Don’t marry her,” etc. I didn’t have any urge to yell at the screen once during this film.

It’s not that the characters made all the right decisions, it’s that I didn’t know what I wanted them to do. Was I that uninvested in the characters? Looking back, yeah, maybe? But, at the time, I think it was that there were no right or wrong paths for them. Either choice could have equally beneficial/ disastrous results.

Music, right. This film was about music too. The soundtrack is all soft coffeehouse alt/folk/pop. (That’s a genre, right?) It’s music I tend to listen to anyway, so I liked it. I wasn’t sure if Knightley was doing her own singing or not, but her character does a lot of it so I think it was really her. Otherwise that would have been a lot of dubbing and doesn’t really seem worth it. But I didn’t walk out humming any of the songs, and can’t recite you any of the lyrics.

While not particularly memorable, there were some nice moments. And the stock roommate character provided some fun comedic relief. I don’t regret the two hours I spent watching “Begin Again” so I suppose that’s a positive review?



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