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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 47 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: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. 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
  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 4, 2014
    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 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
  5. Jul 17, 2014
    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
  6. Jul 24, 2014
    Mark Ruffalo is the star of this movie which revolves around the pop music world and a plot of climbing out of the depths to regain prominence not only professionally but in his personal life as well. Keira Knightley provides a pleasant foil to Ruffalo's character as she too faces personal decisions in her life. Fortunately, the chemistry between the two is there but not exploited in the usual Hollywood fashion. Whether the music is good, bad, or indifferent will depend on the viewer's background and age. One wonders, as in so many movies, how the directors and writers of movies from the 1930s to the mid-1960s were able to produce often excellent movies without use of the f word and variants, which trips off the tongues of the main characters like water dripping from a leaky faucet. Expand
  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 16 User Reviews