Directed by: John Carney
Written by: John Carney
Starring: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, James Corden and Hailee Steinfeld
Begin Again is a cute, light-hearted musical with just enough bite to avoid being irredeemably fluffy. It’s a movie where I knew everyone would be all right at the end, because the main characters’ redemption arcs are so unchallenged that the story would work whether they score a hit record or not. Dan (Mark Ruffalo) is a heavy drinking, has-been record executive with a crumbling marriage. While down on his luck and drunk at an open mic night, he discovers Greta (Keira Knightley), a recently dumped singer/songwriter whose music becomes the driving force of their uplift (and ours).
Those character archetypes sound unbearably cliché, but writer/director John Carney’s disinterest in mining the narrative for drama proves to be an asset here. Ruffalo and Knightley have enough chemistry to make their recording sessions interesting, and it was surprising to see how exactly their relationship conflicts settled.