2014 Movie Reviews: Begin Again

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There are times when it is almost inevitable for a film to be compared to another. Begin Again is from the director of the critically acclaimed Once, which is one of a long list of films I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t seen. Although, to my credit, I have seen the broadway show, and it was pretty good. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m just looking at the film on it’s own, but Begin Again was a pleasant surprise that actually surpassed The Lego Movie as my favorite film so far this year.

The film opens with Keira Knightley’s character giving a performance at a nightclub. When the song was over, I started clapping only to realize nobody else was. That was when I knew this movie had me. Now, I went in knowing virtually nothing about what the film was about. (In fact I was planning on seeing Boyhood, but we couldn’t get tickets and we saw this instead.) And maybe that’s a good mindset for seeing the film.

This film is flat out beautiful. The atmosphere is so realistic and immersive, and the screenplay is just so well written. It’s rare for films to pull off platonic male-female relationships well, and I think the film’s main theme, is a beautiful one, about deciding what will be better in the long run, as opposed to what your heart wants in the moment

The performances by Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley are so amazing. They have such good chemistry. Knightley in particular proves she doesn’t need elaborate dresses to be good, and she really nails her final scene. Adam Levine and Hailee Steinfeld both turn in strong supporting performances, although neither are as strong as the leads.

Overall, I have nothing bad to say about this movie. At no point did my inner critic start nitpicking, which happens in most movies I see. There’s just something so peaceful and yet so powerful about this movie. It’s a film I wholeheartedly recommend.

*****

Just for your information, I try to keep a log of every film I see and add it to what will eventually be my Oscar winners. And with only six films seen, I get a feeling this year will be very strong. Best Original Screenplay is a tight race between this and Lego Movie, and Original Song is already completely packed with “A Step You Can’t Take Back”, “Like A Fool”, and “Lost Stars” from this movie, as well as, “Everything Is Awesome” and “Something So Right”. I’m only halfway through the year and I can’t pick a winner!

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