The movie Begin Again opens with a scene of Greta (played by Keira Knightley) reluctantly performing a song she wrote in a bar. One of the only listeners is Dan, a down-and-out music producer (played by Mark Ruffalo) who appears just at the end of Greta's song, smiling like it's the best thing he's ever heard. The movie rewinds to the beginning of Dan's day, to show him estranged from his wife and daughter, and being kicked out of his label by his longtime partner. The movie goes right back up to the bar scene, and at first I was afraid that there was going to be a boring, unnecessary replay of the first scene. Thankfully, however, I was pleasantly surprised with what turned out to be one of my favorite scenes from the movie.
Instead of just seeing Greta play the song on the guitar all over again, I saw Dan mentally adding other instruments to the song, enhancing it to a whole new level. This brief description doesn't do the scene justice, but I assure that it was both beautiful and impressive storytelling. Dan and Greta's friendship begins here, and together they produce an album - not in the studio, but in random outdoor places all over New York City. I couldn't guess where the story was going, which was great because that made it unpredictable enough to keep me interested. Their characters - Dan's especially - were more complex than I had initially guessed. Their love stories with their respective partners were painful and complicated, which makes them very different from the usual rom-coms I go for.
In addition to all this, there was the music. Oh, the music! My parents saw this movie before I did, and I already fell in love with the songs when Dad starting playing them from the Begin Again album. I liked them even better in the context of the movie, when my dad went to see it again with me. If you don't watch the movie, you should at the very least listen to the music to hear what I'm talking about. "Lost Stars" and "Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home" are my personal favorites. Have I mentioned that Adam Levine from Maroon 5 is in this movie? Well he is, and I will tell you now that while he is a great singer, he does not look good in a beard. Random, but true.
The only complaint I have with this movie, and the warning I give to you now before you decide to see it: there is a lot of cursing in it. My dad didn't notice (even after watching it the second time) that they say the s-word or the f-word in basically every other sentence. It makes me wonder how good of a Christian he is :P Kidding, Dad! You were probably right when you said that I most likely noticed because I'm a writer and I pay close attention to the dialogue. Anyway, the cursing aside, Begin Again is quite a movie if you like stories about music, complex characters, and, well, beginning again.