I love the film “Begin Again”. Yes, it’s a little salty and true to its “R” rating…but still. I just love it. Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, James Corden and Adam Levine? Sigh. Maybe I love it because it’s already a little vintage-y…the story from 2014 about musicians…knowing their worth and protecting it…and the impact on self, relationships. Maybe I love it because the title is endearing. Yes, always, to ‘beginning again‘. Ahh…
Beyond the title 😊 there are three parts of the film that speak to me intensely – prompting joyful tears about the magic of creativity and the power of music:
The first? Near the beginning when Mark Ruffalo’s character envisions – sees, hears, conducts – an imaginary arrangement of instruments to enhance Keira Knightley’s subdued vocals. In real time. It’s a fantastic out of body experience (alcohol-induced, but I’m disregarding that) and I can only imagine this level of musical genius. It’s one of the best depictions I’ve seen; a cinematic attempt to showcase the continuum that is music and madness. (Sadly, it’s a family storyline, too. The burden of brilliance for the musically gifted…personal sharing to come, perhaps another day.)
The second? I adore an endearing dad and daughter storyline. In a rooftop recording session (near the 1:20 mark or so) Ruffalo’s character realizes his daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) is a gifted, yet tentative musician. Dad’s got skills, too, but is reluctant to pick up a guitar himself. When he does, his act of bravery encourages and ignites confidence in his dear daughter. Right there on screen. Magic.
The third? James Corden is a goofball in the film (maybe that’s his natural state?) and there’s a scene, following the rooftop recording, where he DEFIES partygoers to NOT dance to a beat that’s hypnotic and powerful. Who can resist? I love how this was captured on film. It felt authentic, silly and it aligned with one of my core beliefs: good music makes you move. Maybe just a little – toe tapping or finger thumping – or whole-body ‘cutting loose’. You can’t stop it.
And so…this past Friday night was movie rewind time in our house. “Begin Again” offered food for the soul, alongside a monster bowl of popcorn. Whether it was the popcorn or the movie, a satisfying and fulfilling sense of happy still lingers.
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