Begin Again

Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
Watch On
  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: Alonso Duralde
    Jun 26, 2014
    88
    Begin Again is as uncynical and unironic a film as I've seen in a while, which will no doubt be a turn-off to many. But like a catchy summer jam, it doesn't need to apologize for being exactly what it is, nor do its fans have to feel guilty for getting it stuck in their heads.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jul 11, 2014
    80
    The sum total is a film with great music, a great story and a great vibe in general -- not to mention those Carney-crafted moments, built around joy, possibility and self-transformation. In other words: Carney has given us another pearl.
  4. Reviewed by: Cath Clarke
    Jul 8, 2014
    80
    What makes it special is that it’s not another romance about finding a man. It’s about finding your people, about being a bit lost in your twenties and not knowing who you are or what you want to be. And it’s got bucketfuls of charm.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Sep 14, 2013
    80
    A film that lays emotions on the line and then drives them home with music.
  7. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Sep 14, 2013
    80
    The film’s quiet pleasures creep up on you.
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jul 2, 2014
    75
    Doggedly indie but unpretentious, Begin Again is one of the best movies I’ve seen about the music industry and the ways it changes people whose paths diverge.
  9. 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.
  10. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Jul 2, 2014
    75
    Begin Again manages to be romantic and cynical about the music industry, which Carney touches on but never allows to take center stage.
  11. Reviewed by: Lon Grahnke
    Jul 2, 2014
    75
    When the songs work well, as a few of them do, much can be forgiven.
  12. Reviewed by: Jeff Baker
    Jul 1, 2014
    75
    The problem is the song. It was gone as soon as it ended, a forgettable piece of soft-pop that was never going to be a hit, whatever the arrangement or the singer.
  13. Reviewed by: Susan Wloszczyna
    Jun 27, 2014
    75
    With its cast of extremely likable performers, the perfect summer-in-the-city backdrop—in this case, New York — and a soundtrack stuffed with catchy, well-produced hits, Begin Again makes for easy-breezy entertainment.
  14. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jun 26, 2014
    75
    Ruffalo and Knightley make an engaging pair of colleagues and their musical adventure together results in an enchanting, gently funny and occasionally poignant story.
  15. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jun 26, 2014
    75
    It's rare to find a movie that uses music to define love without sentimentalizing it. But Begin Again, with songs by Glen Hansard and New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander, is a wonderfully appealing exception.
  16. Reviewed by: David Lee Dallas
    Jun 23, 2014
    75
    It's a film that lives in the high and not in the comedown, even though its characters are often stalled and wallowing.
  17. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jul 5, 2014
    70
    Sappy but engaging. [7 & 14 July 2014, p.95]
  18. 70
    Begin Again is very funny, mostly because Ruffalo makes such an adorably rumpled drunken a--hole.
  19. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Jun 26, 2014
    70
    Begin Again is all about the untrammeled joys of music, but like a hit pop song, it works better in the emotions than it does through any close examination.
  20. 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.
  21. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Sep 14, 2013
    67
    As a whole, Begin Again is a fairly mannered treatment of an expressive medium.
  22. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    Jul 10, 2014
    63
    Begin Again is a not-entirely-successful movie about not selling out; it’s a theme that must concern Carney deeply.
  23. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jul 2, 2014
    63
    Begin Again may not always swing, but it makes up for that in sincerity and a welcome willingness to ambush expectations.
  24. 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.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 176 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. 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 oneOverall, 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. Full Review »
  2. Jul 27, 2014
    10
    Begin Again now holds a top spot among my favorite movies. The story evolves into a lovely, graceful celebration about the love betweenBegin 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! Full Review »
  3. Jul 19, 2014
    9
    9.5 Run don't walk to see this unpublicized treasury of a movie. These are characters you really care about. The acting is superb and the9.5 Run don't walk to see this unpublicized treasury of a movie. These are characters you really care about. The acting is superb and the music outrageously good. John Carney has made a masterpiece and hardly anyone knows about it. I just saw it after being released 3 weeks ago and the theater was 90% full. Word of mouth is spreading. At the end of the movie the audience just sits there taking it all in. It ends way too soon leaving us wanting more. It's a movie about real life filled with regrets, sorrow, happiness and rebirth. Full Review »