Gamin, Keira Knightley, dashing, Mark Ruffalo with director John Carney (“Once”) in “Begin Again” bless audiences with a delectable, fluffy, scrumptiously sweet scenario; guileless, warm, mesmerizing meringue of a summer flick. Simply enchanting; delicious to watch, delightful to listen to (composer Gregg Alexander); two depressed souls, destined to meet and make musical magic.
“Dan” (Ruffalo) fired from his job as “song searcher”, slurping his angst away in aged bourbon; “Greta” (Knightley) neophyte song writer, dumped by hot- shot crooner “Dave” (sensational, if minimal performance by Adam Levine); electricity strikes when Dan hears Greta strumming and singing her version of doomed desirability. What transpires is a compelling, fetching, blossoming relationship; Dan and Greta make musical history by skipping the recording studio; strutting their ingenuity on New York’s streets, alleys, subways, Central Park; scintillating music, Ms. Knightley’s singing prowess, subtle, sprightly charm, natural nuances, offset by Ruffalo’s hunky, incredible, instinctive gifts as a performer, lend irresistible appeal and terrific fun to “Begin Again”.
Wonderfully refreshing, viewing a film without raunchy rutting scenes of sexual gratification; here are characters who like each other, and evolve into better people because of mutual growth, and tremendous respect; viewers are treated to a loving light-hearted scene where Greta and Dan stroll the sidewalks of New York with headphones and a single player, listening to each others favorite tunes; Herman Hupfeld’s “As Time Goes By” elicits a deluge of emotions, memories awakened from Van Winkle hibernation; loves lost, and reminiscences of “Casablanca”, an achingly poignant, archival masterpiece.
Buddha said “no matter how hard the past, you may always begin again”. Here is a cultivated example of the curative, transformative capabilities of new beginnings; doors, windows opening, releasing the stale; replaced by the breeze of rejuvenation.