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KEIRA KNIGHTLEY & MARK RUFFALO BEGIN AGAIN

year: 2014 rating: ***
In a film centering on the music industry, the actor or actress playing a musician needs to have legitimate talent to make it believable...

Fortunately, there’s some grey matter involved when the story deals with a singer/songwriter who has potential but isn’t yet famous, and may never be. 

In BEGIN AGAIN, our featured artist is a beautiful, down-to-earth and excruciatingly humble Keira Knightly as Greta… She sings an acoustic number to a crowd of restless, conversing club patrons – but the old saying, that if you reach just one person… is pretty much everything here…

That one person is Mark Ruffalo's Dan, a thrift store wardrobe come to life, quirky and optimistic enough to make even his dire situation… of being canned from an indie record company that he founded… something to embrace.

When he discovers a hopeful comeback in Greta, and after both polar opposites converse about a possible future record deal on the chilly streets of New York, we go back in time to learn more about Greta and her boyfriend Dave, played by MAROON 5 singer Adam Levine. While natural enough in the acting department (fake beard aside), he has the perfect voice to legitimize the carbonated R&B, making his superficial fame completely believable, thus allowing Greta to seem more honestly artistic in comparison. 

iPod Sharing
Back to the present: After some convincing, Dan produces Greta’s demo in various places around New York City… from the foot of the Empire State building to subways to botanical gardens. Shown in montage sequences, it's an entertaining and fun process, but the entire concept gets a bit corny, and her tunes sound like background music in a coffee shop.

While Ruffalo plays it cool with shabby wisdom and askew charm, Knightley often seems aware of just how adorable she can be. Meanwhile, the possible romance between singer and producer is omnipresent... Especially during one scene, as the duo wander around listening to the same pair of headphones: Ruffalo's Dan points out how music can make even the most depressed situations seem beautiful... Which is exactly what BEGIN AGAIN strives for, and partially succeeds. 
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