Delayed reaction alert! We just watched this movie two weeks ago, when it was actually in theaters back in July. It’s been a while since I last blogged about movies or shows I watched, but I’m absolutely hooked to this one I thought it deserves a post.
I have a thing for indie films like this one, although one may question the indie-ness of this film since the cast is kind of star-studded—Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, and Adam Levine. It was such a treat to see all three of them in one film. (2020 update: We didn’t know it back then but the talented kid who was Mark Ruffalo’s daughter happened to be Hailee Steinfeld, who also ended up becoming a big star in her own rights. Has anyone watched Begin Again past 2020? Say hello in the comments!)
Watching Begin Again reminded me so much of Once, which is why I wasn’t surprised when I later found out that it was, in fact, written and directed by John Carney. I knew it.
Have you seen it? You should see it! I mean, if you’re like us who have been out of the loop for a while, and maybe unaware that you missed out on a good film.
Let’s begin with the most basic reason why I love Begin Again:
I love Keira Knightley’s wardrobe, and how effortless she looked, and yet with so much personality still. I love her, crooked teeth and all, period.
I love Keira’s character Greta, and I find her artistry and courage very inspiring. She reminded me how it feels like, to be lost and heartbroken; and how strangely liberating it is to not know what’s going to happen next you just know you have to take that first step.
I love that it’s not a love story, that it defied the usual happy-ever-after endings we’ve all expected from rom coms. It did have a love story angle but the movie was more about finding your way after losing it, choosing what matters in your life, and the unexpected friendships you build along the way.
I love that it was about passion, and music, and New York City. Ohh it was a tribute to New York City alright. It’s been a while since the last time I was in New York and watching movies like this has this effect on me that I can’t quite explain. Which is maybe why I shouldn’t try to explain it now.
I love that it gave every character some form of closure. I love that Dave (Adam Levine) realized what, and who, he traded for money and fame, that he knew enough to fight for her even though he still ended up losing her the second time. His attempt to get her back validated the kind of man he is, that he wasn’t totally lost in the smokes and mirrors of his career. And I love that Dan (Mark Ruffalo) recovered everything he thought he lost—his love, his family, his career.
I love that Dan and Greta chose friendship, even though there were hints that they could be falling for each other. And even though walking around Manhattan while listening to Greta’s playlist with a headphone-splitter was probably the most. romantic. thing. ever.
“You can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their playlist,” Dan said, and Greta shyly opened up her playlist to him.
I mean, can you imagine if the film ended this way?
Hello, leaked footages.
It didn’t end that way, of course, but these scenes were taped, only to be cut off in the final edit. I suppose at some point in the cutting room, John Carney thought it was more important for Dan to validate himself—that he is a great father, and he loves his wife, and he’s amazing at his job!
Likewise, it was empowering for Greta to be able to find herself, that she doesn’t need a man to save her, to chase her dreams, and to take her out of her misery.
I think the story ended the best possible way, but thanks anyway for the leaked footages. :)
Lastly, the soundtrack, the music, the lyrics—I love it.
“Let’s get drunk on our tears”? What are those words, even?!
Begin Again stirred up something inside of me and made me want to write, to create something beautiful, and well, to chase old dreams. I hope whatever it is you’re watching lately stirs your heart in some major way too.
So what are you watching lately? :)