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REVIEW: Begin Again

Now THIS is  what a movie musical  should be. And Keira Knightley sings!!!  Really!!!! 

“Once” creator John Carney  does it again: creating a perfect pitch  musical rom-com that both delights  and surprises. Keira Knightley stars as  an uncompromising indie  singer-songwriter  who’s been recently dumped by her longtime boyfriend who has become a superstar (played very effectively by first-time actor Adam Levine.)  At her rock bottom, fate brings into her universe a washed-up record label exec  (a spot-on Mark Ruffalo) who discovers her at an bar in New York City’s East Village.  He’s not only been dumped by his wife (Catherine Keener, who makes every role look effortless) , he’s just been fired from the record label he co-founded.

This is not your typical love story. It doesn’t go where you expect. In fact, it’s mostly a love letter to music – the healing power of music.  The songs are great and played out naturally in the course of the story.  It’s also a love letter to the East Village.  Very authentic.

The supporting players are all awesome: Oscar-nominated “True Grit”  star Hailee Steinfeld plays Ruffalo’s daughter. Tony-award winning James Corden is absolutely lovable as Knightley’s busker/ bff. The artist formerly known as Mos Def , Yasiin Bey, is tremendous as the record labe; chief and Ceelo Green has fun in his film debut.

It’s also a look at a very changing music biz.

I have to say,  this is one of my favorites of the year.

4 stars


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