Took myself out on a date a few weeks ago. Okay, let’s rephrase that. On one of the many solo-dates that have surprisingly become an addictive pleasantry, I drove myself an extra 20 miles outside the KCMO to see Begin Again. And I’d do it again.
This musically inspired almost-love-story is worth driving miles to sit alone in a theater (which also happens to be the only working business in a creepy abandoned mall). I would dub it as a successful first time to watch a movie in a theater alone, since the guy sitting in the very front was also very alone, and middle aged, and loudly laughed at every part, commenting “HA! Now that was funny!”
Anyhow, a great summer flick. Admittedly, I went for Mark Ruffalo because I have a weakness for movies about dysfunctional people, which are the kind in which he tends to star. Also, who knew Kiera Knightly could sing?! Oh, and it has Adam Levine too, which is why I think the group of teenage girls was there.
What Frozen in its seasonal excellence is to its summery sister Tangled, Once is to Begin Again. (Does that make any sense? I was dying to throw in an analogy. But if you don’t get it, here’s a cheat sheet: Frozen and Once= wintry ; Tangled and Begin Again = summery).
These similarities shouldn’t be a surprise, because Begin Again is directed by John Carney, who also directed Once.
For a brief synopsis of both Once and Begin Again, how about:
Two heartbroken musicians in failing relationships use music to revitalize themselves.
It’s a little more lighthearted than Once, mostly because Kiera Knightly’s songs are more upbeat and happy (more guitars and ukes and bells, plus a little do-wop feel) than the tight, minor chord harmonies of Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard.
There’s a good amount of tension in the movie that keeps you on your toes as to who’s going to get together in the end, and, like Once, there’s an unexpected ending.
The happiest part of the entire film (as it must be called since I saw it in an indie theater and because of its european roots) is Knightly and Ruffalo’s characters record an entire album with their band of street musicians all over New York City. It’s pretty grand. NY Tourism companies should be all over this film, as if the city isn’t already the favorite child.
Though Knightly’s singing voice still retains an adorably obvious British accent, her acting was, not-surprisingly, average. A disappointment, but it can be looked over when you get these songs stuck in your head: