User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 120 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 5 out of 120

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  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 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,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
  2. 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
    "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.
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  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 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 there9.5 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. Expand
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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  6. 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.
  7. 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 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!
  8. 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 asMark 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
  9. Aug 14, 2014
    8
    Great music movie. See it if you like music at all...I will probably buy this soundtrack just due to how great the music sounds. The acting was okay, I think Knightley stole the show though, Ruffalo playing second fiddle, and his "character daughter" even upstaging him at times. Is it just me or does Ruffalo seem like a type-cast at this point? I mean "Thanks for Sharing" and "Begin Again"Great music movie. See it if you like music at all...I will probably buy this soundtrack just due to how great the music sounds. The acting was okay, I think Knightley stole the show though, Ruffalo playing second fiddle, and his "character daughter" even upstaging him at times. Is it just me or does Ruffalo seem like a type-cast at this point? I mean "Thanks for Sharing" and "Begin Again" seem like the same guy - disheveled, broken, and generally out-of-sorts. But I digress.
    In summary, see it if you like and appreciate music. Worth a rent when it comes out.
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  10. Jul 14, 2014
    9
    This is a real crowd pleaser. With its gentle charm and simple, but not simplistic storyline it captivatingly draws one into its wish fulfilment, fantasy romance. Backed up by an incredible clutch of great new songs, which will ensure that the CD is a must have item, this is a no gloss production with a very big heart.
    One's initial fears that it will be as indifferent as its title
    This is a real crowd pleaser. With its gentle charm and simple, but not simplistic storyline it captivatingly draws one into its wish fulfilment, fantasy romance. Backed up by an incredible clutch of great new songs, which will ensure that the CD is a must have item, this is a no gloss production with a very big heart.
    One's initial fears that it will be as indifferent as its title suggests are not borne out (the original title 'Can a song save your life' is a lot quirkier) and one very quickly warms to both the film and the performances of its very engaging cast. Mark Ruffalo is outstanding here and there is real chemistry between him and Keira Knightley, sporting a very acceptable singing voice. Supporting actors also contribute to the charm, although a little of James Cordon does go a long way. Unfamiliar New York locations are also refreshingly used.
    Personally I enjoyed it more than John Carney's previous hit, 'Once', and it does share that film's love of music and the endurance of the human spirit. Also, wisely, neither film opts for an obviously pat ending. In fact, this could very well end up being the most enjoyable movie surprise of the year.
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  11. 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,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
  12. Jul 24, 2014
    6
    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 theMark 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
  13. Jul 21, 2014
    5
    Pretty formulaic. Runs through all the standard cliches very quickly. Main characters not really fleshed out. Nice music though, and a good ending. Adam Levine does a nice job acting.
  14. Jul 25, 2014
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. First of all I want to say Hailee Steinfeld was drastically underused in the film. She had very few dialogue parts left me wondering why exactly she was even casted in this film. Keira Knightley was enjoyable she had great on screen chemistry with Mark Ruffalo and them being chosen for those roles was grade A. Cee Lo Green was used perfectly! Comedic, entertaining and had the audience laughing. It would've been nice if Keira was signed to the record label at the end. Expand
  15. Lyn
    Jan 18, 2015
    7
    While there's not a song like "Falling Slowly" to stick in your mind as with the director's previous film, "Once," this is a warm and creative slice of the songwriters' life. Keira Knightley is at her most winsome and Mark Ruffalo at his most adorable as they discover, challenge, support and inspire each other. My favorite scene was near the beginning. Ruffalo, a down-on-his-luck musicWhile there's not a song like "Falling Slowly" to stick in your mind as with the director's previous film, "Once," this is a warm and creative slice of the songwriters' life. Keira Knightley is at her most winsome and Mark Ruffalo at his most adorable as they discover, challenge, support and inspire each other. My favorite scene was near the beginning. Ruffalo, a down-on-his-luck music producer, hears Knightley's low-key and poorly received singing in a bar. Then it shows him imagining all the elements that could make the song a hit -- mentally adding in piano, drums, strings, backing vocals. (Yeah, Knightley's voice is a little thin, but just think of all those marginally talented, autotuned kewpie dolls who are stars currently.) Glad for a nice little film I can recommend to my friends who aren't into sci fi, superheroes, scorching drama or violence. Expand
  16. Oct 19, 2014
    9
    Hands down my favorite film this year.
    The acting is superb and the music outrageously good. John Carney has made a masterpiece and hardly anyone knows about it.
  17. MES
    Jul 30, 2014
    10
    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).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
  18. Nov 10, 2014
    7
    In the second installment of his career, John Carney again provides us with a beautiful combination of music and storytelling. Despite a disappointing performance from Adam Levine, Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo carry the film through its highs and lows.
  19. Jul 29, 2014
    8
    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 raveWhat 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
  20. Dec 27, 2014
    8
    This is a sweet and charming film that is enjoyable from start to finish. All the performances are good especially Mark Ruffalo who always comes off authentic on screen. A-
  21. Dec 23, 2014
    8
    Begin Again is not a romantic love story you see everyday in cheap movies. John Carney is a talented director, and there's a lot to be sure about that. But the film didn't focus something, it directed viewers to something else that hard to be identified. Even after finishing it, you still cannot know what it's all about. Love? Joy? Or what?
  22. Oct 13, 2014
    8
    Begin Again has good music, great acting and lovely story. Keira and Ruffalo have great chemistry while Levine held his ground. Light drama enveloped in subtle comedy makes this movie unique and beautiful.
  23. Dec 27, 2014
    8
    If you need to see a musical movie that is not so over the top, Begin Again is that musical movie.

    Begin Again has an interesting story that catches you from start to finish, an interesting story that will make you care about the characters in this movie. The chemistry between Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo is amazing in this movie and that has to be the best part of this movie.
    If you need to see a musical movie that is not so over the top, Begin Again is that musical movie.

    Begin Again has an interesting story that catches you from start to finish, an interesting story that will make you care about the characters in this movie.

    The chemistry between Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo is amazing in this movie and that has to be the best part of this movie.

    The musical scenes in the movie are great to watch. Whether it’s Keira Knightley’s voice or not, her singing voice in this movie is such a delight to listen.

    This movie is also a nice social commentary about the music industry without being too preachy.

    The direction of John Carney and the cinematography in this movie makes this movie nice to watch with its simplistic production value.

    Overall, this simple, not over-the-top musical movie will interest you from start to finish thanks to its chemistry between Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, jam along musical scenes, nice social commentary about the music industry and its appealing direction and cinematography.
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  24. Sep 25, 2014
    9
    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 twoPlot/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.
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  25. Dec 17, 2014
    9
    Begin Again is a movie that will help you recognize the power of music and how it can bring people together. It is really probably the best fictional music movie that I have ever seen. Music can uncork so much emotions and Begin Again displays characters that feel strongly about their music without worrying about record sales or chart success. There is such a strong cast in this movie.Begin Again is a movie that will help you recognize the power of music and how it can bring people together. It is really probably the best fictional music movie that I have ever seen. Music can uncork so much emotions and Begin Again displays characters that feel strongly about their music without worrying about record sales or chart success. There is such a strong cast in this movie. Mark Ruffalo shows off some talent that I had never seen from him before. Keira Knightley has some potential to become a real star in the future in my opinion. Then we have Adam Levine who had some limited screen time but I enjoyed every minute he was there. I would like to see him in some more movies, and you don't have to be a Maroon 5 fan in order to appreciate his role. The end scene is probably my favorite of the whole movie and it shows the true power of song. This movie could be enjoyed by anyone who gets emotional responses from music. Expand
  26. Nov 30, 2014
    4
    What was so successful in Carneys ONCE fails to reemerge in BEGIN AGAIN. I feel this is partly due to casting, Knightly is wrong from the role of Greta, I feel this role would have been better realized by a more unfamiliar and better actress. Ruffalo also falls short which for me is an ever bigger disappointment as I am a big fan generally.

    I lost interest in the characters and story of
    What was so successful in Carneys ONCE fails to reemerge in BEGIN AGAIN. I feel this is partly due to casting, Knightly is wrong from the role of Greta, I feel this role would have been better realized by a more unfamiliar and better actress. Ruffalo also falls short which for me is an ever bigger disappointment as I am a big fan generally.

    I lost interest in the characters and story of this film. Maybe yes to a large degree this is due to the fact I sensed very quickly that the bench mark of ONCE would not be found or close to being found by this outing.

    Unfortunately I gave such little attention/interest to the characters in this film I am unable to provide a more detailed review of the actual film itself.

    Carney can do and must do much better than this mild sell out of a production. Overall I will class this a lame pony with one eye missing and only 2 teeth remaining in its mange-riddled head.
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  27. Nov 10, 2014
    10
    An amazing coming age film starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine. What else can we ask ?

    An amazing musical coming age film well directed by John Carney an amazing director. This film is just brilliant due to the following reasons. First of all the movie is directed brilliantly by John Carney ( the director of Once), making such emotive scenes, like the one in which
    An amazing coming age film starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine. What else can we ask ?

    An amazing musical coming age film well directed by John Carney an amazing director. This film is just brilliant due to the following reasons.

    First of all the movie is directed brilliantly by John Carney ( the director of Once), making such emotive scenes, like the one in which Keira Knightley sings the song " A Step you can't Take Back " and Mark Ruffalo sees her for the first time playing her music.

    The second important thing is the performances of Keira Knightley an amazing actress that does the singing job really well, since she is able to sing and rock. Also he character Gretta is really likable and really helps develop Mark Ruffalo's character Dan. The second thing is Mark Ruffalo performance making one of his best performance in my opinion dealing with problems and actually growing and developing his character through the movie. Finally Adam Levine known from the popular band Maroon 5 making he's debut as an actor making in a great way by adapting to the environment and to his characters situations really good, plus he is great singing.

    The third thing is that this movie is brilliantly written by John Carney using time in a brilliant way to tell his story in amazing way. This script is really good since the characters due change through the movie, also the songs are really amazing and likable. Although the movie is cheesy sometimes the script is good in general since Carney uses time, well and his characters are really likable.

    In general this is a great age coming film, that should be taken more seriously by critics since a 62 is not what it should have in my opinion. It is really sad that this movie will not be considered by the Academy Awards (Oscars) for a prize since this movie is totally a great summer blast and a great musical age coming film that will definitely make you buy the soundtrack of this movie. This movie is definitely 10 out of 10.
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  28. Feb 20, 2015
    8
    The movie sets the table well, it just takes a while to put it all together! The acting and story is well over the top. I am beginning to love Keira Knightley more and more as I see her in different movies! Also Mark Ruffalo is at the top of his A list, and haven't seen him in really bad movies either. In addition to all the previous, the music and scores are pleasing, so get the fullThe movie sets the table well, it just takes a while to put it all together! The acting and story is well over the top. I am beginning to love Keira Knightley more and more as I see her in different movies! Also Mark Ruffalo is at the top of his A list, and haven't seen him in really bad movies either. In addition to all the previous, the music and scores are pleasing, so get the full effect and watch it in surround sound!! We simply need to have more movie like this with all the right elements, overall will go on the list of some of my favorites, and one I will pull off the DVD shelf and watch again some time!! Expand
Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.