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62

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

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 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
    100
    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
    80
    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
    75
    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
    67
    "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. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jun 25, 2014
    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
    58
    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
    35
    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: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Jul 16, 2014
    10
    Carney knows what to do and he does it best. I had to remain seated for a further 5 minutes when the film had ended just to take everything in. The storyline isn't clichéd nor are the characters overplayed. You become engrossed with their relationships and feel as though you are on this journey with them. Brilliant performances by Knightley & Ruffalo and a stellar supporting cast. Expand
  2. Jul 16, 2014
    10
    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.
    Expand
  3. Jul 4, 2014
    9
    A fantastic, fantastic movie. Ruffalo really shines and Adam Levine is an absolutely unexpected standout. He did a great a job. I really enjoyed the story, pacing, characters, and acting. The ending was also really solid. Overall a splendid movie. Expand
  4. Jul 13, 2014
    7
    "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.
    Expand
  5. Jul 2, 2014
    7
    Overall, this one feels a bit magical and is quite heart warming. Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo are great and their chemistry with one another feels authentic. Hailee Steinfeld is also good in a supporting role here. Adam Levine, at times, shows his inexperience in acting and is severely outclassed, but never really seems like dead weight either. The characters are well put together, the story is told well, and as I just said, the overall experience is a feel good one. Nothing really overly unique and great about the film as a whole, but it works for what it is. However, the one area where the film is phenomenal is in its music. The songs in the film are magical and really click every single time. Watching them record them and then hearing the final product is a fun and enjoyable thing to see and to see them come together and express themselves doing so is another nice touch. Really, everything to do with the music here is pitch perfect. Expand
  6. Jul 17, 2014
    7
    Mark Ruffalo plays a washed-up record exec who hears singer/songwriter Keira Knightley and decides to make a recording with her…outdoors all over New York City. Considering the subject and the writer/director (John Carney, who did the same for "Once") you can expect lots of music. The soundtrack is filled with pleasant poppy songs, none of which are memorable. Ruffalo is interesting as always and Knightley may be the most charming she's ever been. Adam Levine co-stars as her ex and does fine as an actor (of course, he sings). The situations are predictable and the dialogue isn't especially sharp, but the appealing actors and plentiful music make it likeable. Expand
  7. Jun 28, 2014
    4
    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 10 User Reviews

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