Begin Again? Here we go again is what I thought. As soon as I saw posters and trailers for this film I almost immediately discounted it. I am really not a fan of films focusing on romance for the majority of the film and that is the vibe that the promotion for this film gave me. I really only decided to go and see this film out of boredom and I was slightly curious due to the mainly positive reviews that I had seen.
Well pretty much all my assumptions about this film ended up being wrong. IMDb actually categorize this film as a Comedy/Drama/Music – no mention of romance, and rightly so. Begin isn’t a film about romance, it actually does focus on the music. The cast of this film are by no means any of my favourite actors, a few of them normally irritate me, however this was not the case here as almost all of them perform brilliantly. My only qualm about the casting would have to be Adam Levine. Obviously cast for his talent in terms of musicality although I was still left a little unconvinced. I am not sure if this was due to his musical status in real life or if he just isn’t that great an actor, either way, I was left unconvinced at times. This was only a small issue, but one of the only ones this film had – the only other also being very small. I thought Keira Knightly wasn’t the best at miming, but again only a small point. Begin Again surprised me so much, I was really expecting to struggle through the almost 2 hours of its running time but to my amazement I was never once bored.
Anyway let’s talk about the music, as it is the focal point of this film and its best feature. Begin Again is so successful because of its plot, it actually follows the story of an artist (Knightly) recording her first album. Much like Frank earlier in the year, again here we see something not that straight forward as it is recorded outside in different locations around New York. This idea is interesting in itself so watching it unfold on screen was just a pleasure. The music featured was really good too, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Those scenes that allowed for whole songs to be played out made you feel like you were at an intimate gig. The whole film got me excited for music again. Before I got into films so much I used to be a big music fan, I have lost that over the years however Begin Again has really inspired me to do just that, begin again. The music and the story of this first album, which for the record should really be released, were one hundred percent the focus of this film and explain why it is so successful. There are elements of love and romance thrown in too however as they are only additions to this main plot the film never comes bogged down in these and manages to steer clear of usual stereotypes and cliches which I was so pleased about.
This film also has a lot to say about music, and the music culture of this generation. It was often very comical in its critique of this which I really appreciated. One scene in particular seemed almost powerful, as two characters dance in a night club but not to the generic club bangers but to the soulful sound of Stevie Wonder through headphones. This contrast was really nicely done and I think got across its message in a clever way. Begin Again comments on music in so many ways, it is honest but never pretentious which is why I loved it. The irony as well as I left the cinema and just as the credits finished rolling my ears were meet with the sound of Miley Cyrus, it was comical and just reenforced the entire message of this movie.
Begin Again is easily the biggest surprise for me in 2014 and to think that I almost let this film go by without even considering it. Just goes to show that you can’t judge films on their promotion. Music fans will love this film and I would imagine it will see the birth of many more. Begin Again can play again any time it wants and I am sure the songs on the soundtrack will be on repeat on many peoples ipods for weeks to come.
BIGGEST FLAW – Casting Adam Levine
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Focusing on the music
Rating – 9/10