User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 43
  2. Negative: 3 out of 43

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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, 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 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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 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
  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. 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
    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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  8. 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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  9. 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.
  10. 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!
  11. 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). We all felt this was the best movie of the year, so far. Expand
  12. 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 rave about, but the one that you can easily enjoy quietly while resting from the hot outdoor temperatures. Expand
  13. 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" 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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  14. 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 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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
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.