Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 88 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City. [The Weinstein Company] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Drew McWeeny
    May 31, 2014
    John Carney, who wrote and directed "Once," has made another great film that focuses on songwriters and the way their lives influence their work.
  2. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Jun 23, 2014
    Begin Again is a joyous movie about the good things in life: love, family, relationships, New York, creativity and music. And Knightley and Ruffalo make for one of the most unusual engaging couples of the year.
  3. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jul 2, 2014
    The music is hit-and-miss, and the movie sinks into as many cliches as it avoids. But the characters are appealing, and the storytelling is just unconventional enough to keep an audience guessing.
  4. Reviewed by: Keith Staskiewicz
    Jun 26, 2014
    "Once" was a small and well-loved heirloom, its imperfections part of the charm. But Begin Again has been burnished to a shiny dullness.
  5. 63
    Writer-director John Carney re-plays his greatest hit with Begin Again, a semi-successful attempt to recreate the magic of the Oscar-winning musical “Once” in New York with a big name cast.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jun 27, 2014
    Most of the music is by New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander, and it’s heartfelt without ever really touching the heart.
  7. Reviewed by: Laremy Legel
    Sep 14, 2013
    A film that inserts banal plot devices and endless cutesiness in place of where the “good parts” should be.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. MES
    Jul 30, 2014
    Folks, if you like music and appreciate its power/magic, this is a film that you can't help but enjoy. A solid cast combined with excellent storytelling and the power of its original music adds up to a thoroughly enjoyable 95 minutes. Perhaps not deep or profound, yet the four of us talked about music the entire night, fueled by the glow of this movie (and perhaps a little sangria). We all felt this was the best movie of the year, so far. Expand
  2. Jul 16, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and it really wasn't a 'rom-com' as much as a 'light' drama. I was delighted by the performances of all the principals and found the movie as a whole rather charming and
    totally unique. It was in no way predictable as I thought that certain characters were going to end up together. Refreshingly, in some respects, they didn't, although the potential was there in several scenes.

    The music to the film was probably the most engaging set of songs that I have heard in years. Did Keira do her own singing? Loved hearing Stevie Wonder's 'For Once in My Life' again, so appropriately done. The envisioning of musical accompaniement to Keira's first solo song was almost magical.

    Strangely, Adam Levine of Maroon 5 acquitted himself exceptionally well as I was prepared to dislike him for all the media hype. I found his acting performance commendable.

    The scenes of playing and living in NYC made me want to go back to the city as it was so attractively and engagingly displayed. All in all, I really liked this film.
  3. Jul 27, 2014
    Begin Again now holds a top spot among my favorite movies. The story evolves into a lovely, graceful celebration about the love between friends. Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley excel in creating and shaping characters that you hope to meet again. James Corden is also a delight! Expand
  4. Sep 25, 2014
    Plot/Story: "Wish I Was Here" in a few words is Cliche and Predictable. Every single thing that happens it's like "Yup knew it". There are absolutely zero surprises in this movie. A good film should be unpredictable and leave you with no clue on what is to happen next. It is also very "Cliche". You will find very little here that has not already been done in many other films. These two points are big ones that take away from the whole movie. The comedy also was not that great. I feel like there was no in between. Either the jokes were hilarious or they flat lined. As the movie went on the jokes became less funny. The beginning of the movie showed quite a lot of potential. All the comedy was nice, the plot looked like it would go in another direction, and it looked enjoyable. You don't really care for the characters at all because you have seen it all before. None of this is terrible...... It is just mediocre. 4/10

    Characters and Actors: Zach Braff play's Aidan Bloom and he does a pretty good job. His performance was the best part of this film. There isn't really any chemistry between any of the characters. All the characters are just there. Kate Hudson plays his wife Sarah, Josh Gad play's his brother Noah, and Mandy Patinkin plays his father. Though have to give prop's to Joey King and Pierce Gagnon who play Braff's kids, for child actors I thought they were well above average. Aside from Braff's, Kings's, and Gagnon's performances the rest were pretty average. 7/10

    Overall: Just a mediocre film that showed a lot of potential in the beginning and just went downhill. And that's what this movie is, potential. It has the potential to be funny, it has the potential to be emotionally heavy; but no one in the entire production chose to take a single risk and as a result we get a predictable and cliche movie. Aside from the three great preformances I mentioned earlier and one running joke within the movie there's nothing special to make me wish I was here.
  5. Jul 29, 2014
    What a pleasant little sleeper film in the middle of the hot summer. What weaknesses this story has is easily ignored due to the fact it has great music throughout the whole 90 minutes. Mark Ruffalo is a great star for this one and shows great character development. I have not seen him in anything I have not liked. Oh and did I mention it has great music. Not the type of movie to rave about, but the one that you can easily enjoy quietly while resting from the hot outdoor temperatures. Expand
  6. Jul 13, 2014
    "Begin Again: stars Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, Katherine Keener and Hailey Steinfeld in this film written and directed by John Carney ("Once").
    Ms. Knightley comes alive in this film after our having viewed her in so many mid 19th Century films as she helps illuminate the streets of Manhattan (where the film takes place) with her stellar performance. . Although her role requires singing, this is obviously not her professional forte. Nevertheless she handles the role nicely. Alas, that’s where the accolades for the film end for the performances of Mark Ruffalo (who always seems to play the same part) and the other performers are hampered by an average script and music that two generations after mine probably love but this writer could do without. Writing and directing the same film is an art and a task not easily carried off. Mr. Carney is no exception here and a somewhat confusing screenplay coupled with less than average musucal performances earn this a 7.5 rating with the 0.5 attributed solely to Ms. Knightley.
  7. Jun 28, 2014
    This one left me flat. It doesn't hold a candle to the filmmakers previous work "Once", which had so much feeling and soul to it. Another thing that Once had going for it was amazing music, and tremendous singers. I love Knightly (and I love the rest of this amazing cast - with the exception of Levine who I don't know much about), but she cannot carry the music. Her voice is average, and I couldn't get behind any of the songs. It's a problem. And the chemistry between Knightly and Ruffalo is just strange. It can't even touch the chemistry between Sandler and Vega in Spanglish - then again, that's a high bar. And I frankly just didn't get the ending at all. Expand

See all 21 User Reviews