begin again the film

begin againI learned about this movie through an email I received. I had, after watching several indie films over at the Roxie Theater, decided that I wanted to immerse myself in different genres and expand my severely limited palate. I’m happy I signed up for the newsletter because to date, I’ve been back to Embarcadero Center Cinemas on numerous occasions. Posh, reclining seats in the roughly 20-seater screening lounges, real food, alcohol, a polite crowd, and indie films. What’s not to like? I especially love the fact that people frequent the bigger chain theaters for popular films and leave the Embarcadero Center for folks who want to step outside their comfort zone a little bit and watch something different.

I recently went and watched Begin Again, directed by John Carney. It’s definitely a star-studded film, with Keira Knightley, Adam Levine, Mark Ruffalo, Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def, and CeeLo. I never knew that Keira Knightley could sing! That was the first thing on my mind when I watched the movie and for sure – she does a great job showcasing her vocal skills, but also as an actress – she convincingly played the part. As far as Adam Levine goes: I hardly recognized him, but he did his job too, coming in with vocals and contributing to the drama that drives the story forward. I’ve never quite seen this side of him.

The movie is deeply-rooted in the music industry, the role of music, and the way it shapes musicians and their lives. It gives a highly filtered and dumbed-down view of the interactions between music execs and artists, I’m sure. I was most impressed with the opening of the film and the dialogue that takes place between Dan (Mark Ruffalo) and Greta (Keira Knightley) as they talk at great lengths, but with a certain staccato about society, individualism, and fame. Although we know through context that it is about music, it applies to things far broader than just that and I enjoyed it. It was smart.

Sadly, for me, the rest of the movie fell flat because it was so predictable. Even in the beginning, you knew what was happening and you knew what would happen even before it did. I’m not saying it was a bad film – it’s highly entertaining and I loved listening to the music and letting the characters on screen unfold. That part never ceases to tire and the characters all had so much depth to them. Even with the predictability and cliched storyline, I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for a good movie. It’s uplifting, personal, and deep, but tender.