No it’s not a post about blogging — as has become the habit of the blog writer here –although the title would have been very apt for a post like that. Too perfect, in fact. It’s been dormant (again) for a while.
The post is about this charming movie, a feel-good movie about music, and relationships, flirting with the usual Hollywood fetishes such as redemption, with a generous dosage of cliches and archetypal characters (remember the once-famous, fallen-from grace, turned loser of a mid-aged man, hit rock-bottom, so only way to go is up, or a love-lorn, and believing in authenticity and something for-the-sake-of-it — as only young would — hence struggling to take the world as it is, romantic at heart girl), and still managing to tell a story of all that your typical Hollywood drama is all about — in a way that would make you want to willfully go along with the characters, because despite being archetypal, they’re still real, and lovable.
Begin Again, is a story of Gretta (Keira Knightly), a singer/song-writer who comes to New York, tagging along, as she says, with her singer boyfriend who’s just got a deal with a major record label, and Dan (Mark Ruffalo) a now wasted record-label exec with broken family, who come to a stage where he’s about to end it all. Gretta’s boyfriend is sucked into the big bag world of music industry, has an affair, and heartbroken she’s considering moving back to her hometown when her friend makes her sing in front of a small club crowd, one of who is Dan having possibly the worst day of his life. Dan, few drinks too many in his system, listens to Gretta with violins, and drums, etc. added in his head, hearing her music as it could sound, believes he’s found the “voice” again after all these years, offers to pitch for her with his, now ex, records label, with predictable results.
What happens next is pure Hollywood magic, where two struggling souls help each other turn a (rather unpleasant) page in their life, and be connected in the process, not in the romantic sense. The chemistry between the lead actors is lovely. Both really bring their otherwise typical characters to life with contrasting styles, one with grace, the other with cool underplay. The side characters are obviously much less developed, and pretty much are there for the benefit of the rather linear and simple story.
And still, I enjoyed it immensely. The music, the love affair with the city, and delightful on-screen chemistry of the lead actors lift the movie into a dreamy league where you just want to hang around. Be there. And that it’s done with no melodrama, but a rather subdued treatment does play a large part in it. Worth a watch, but not at the cost of the Birdmans of the world. Not by a stretch.