By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Begin Again is a very savvy film about lost souls struggling to find new beginnings. When Gretta (sweetly played by Keira Knightley. Pirates of the Caribbean) and her long-time boyfriend Dave Kohl (Adam Levine, from the band Maroon 5) arrive in a city where dreams can be made with thanks to a potential recording contract being offered to Kohl, little do they know their life together gets dashed.
In another world, Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo, Avengers), a former record label executive, has not produced a hit in years. He’s hard on his luck and he stands a chance of forever losing touch with his ex-wife and daughter. More could have been done with this subplot, but when a random meeting with Gretta gives him a chance to discover the next Alicia Keys, she does a lot to help him mend torn relationships. Thematically, some of her songs may have influenced the narrative that writer/director John Carney (Once, Zonad) constructed for this film. Viewers familiar with Once will no doubt find similarities in this American-backed update. This production is meatier; it has more substance in the development of its two main protagonists whereas the classic does a better job at celebrating the music.