This summer's been a bit hard to stomach movie-wise. So it's nice to get a little relief from the overbearing Hollywood blockbusters. I didn't need to go far to find Begin Again. But I was surprised to enjoy it as much as I did.
It's the kind of movie that has a language all its own. In the silence there are still words being spoken.
There's a charisma emanating from Mark Ruffalo's relationship to Keira Knightley, and it's so specifically structured, like a great building. I've gotta say, it was also refreshing to not be watching a love story. These are just two like-minded people who actually understand each others' desires... musically.
John Carney knows what he's doing. As a writer/director he's really carving out his own little niche in the industry. After Once it seems it would have been fairly easy to walk away from music and push a career as an all-around good filmmaker, but he seems set in his ways and I for one appreciate getting his multiple takes on the world of music. The cast was excellent as well, between Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley it's fairly obvious these days you're gonna have some quality performances. But add Mos Def to the equation, Hailee Steinfeld, and Catherine Keener with... Adam Levine (?? Doing something similar, but less silly, to what Justin Timberlake did in Inside Llewyn Davis)... and you've got a really interesting movie.
And honestly, don't knock the Adam Levine casting. It is a music movie after all. And he did a more than serviceable job playing a sellout. His character had a surprising final moment as well that I really think was a brilliant piece of filmmaking. That may have been John Carney getting it more so than Adam Levine getting it... but regardless, his casting was surprisingly the right decision for this picture.
I guess my only negative thought on the movie falls during the credits. For some reason there were two additional scenes designated to occur after the real movie had ended. And while the first of these scenes makes sense as a statement about what the music business "should be"... the second one practically destroys the entire movie in a single line. It's really confusing to have witnessed that moment. And at the very least, it should not have been the last thing we saw of these characters... especially when the actual ending of the movie was so fulfilling and concise. Oh well. You can't win 'em all.
Begin Again is one of the best things in theaters right now. So give it a chance. You'll be glad you aren't watching Transformers, I promise.