The older I get, the more I want to see “nice” movies. I never want to walk into a movie knowing it’s nice. No, no. Being nice is for assholes. But if a movie is wholly implausible, has characters that couldn’t exist in real life and has an ending that’s just so syrupy sweet, but also has a decent soundtrack and winning performances, I’m in.
Begin Again is such a movie. Mark Ruffalo is in scruffy, loveable lush mode as Dan, a down-on-his-boozy-luck small record label partner. Keira Knightley is Greta, the woman who is dumped—yeah, right—by Dave (hack Adam Levine) because his indie record is a big deal and a major label signs him and he wants to bone groupies.
So Greta is kicked to the curb. Dan hears Greta playing a song in a bar with only her guitar as accompaniment, but in his head (and on screen, niftily) he hears drums, piano and all that jazz, as Bob Fosse would say.
He convinces her to record a live record throughout the city—no overdubs—and she convinces him to reconnect with his rotten life. It’s featherweight. It’s unbelievable. It’s cute and charming, and it’s an antidote to crappy summer films.
Directed by John Carney
With Knightley, Ruffalo and Levine
UA DeVargas 6