You Have What It Takes To Be Amazing!

Begin Again (2014)
A Review By Ben Hunter
5 Out Of 5 Stars


If you didn’t know before, hopefully this will help you realize that you have what it takes to be amazing!


To those moments when you hear that slight sound and you put the beer down, or slightly start to pay less attention in the conversation.  That sound becomes more enlightening and a little more distinct; your friends now make an effort to preserve your attention once again.  Most of the time they do, but it’s typically not for long, because that sound is not just a sound, it’s not just a melody, or even a song, this moving sound simply takes you over!  You stop drinking the beer, have forgotten about the cigarette or the cute girl across the way you were mustering up courage to talk to, all you can do is listen to this sound, this harmonic, rhythmic melody, that you must Shazaam and download into your everyday cycle of melodic movement.  It’s discovering such change that brings us closer to inspiration, to hope, to realizing our goals and all that it is that we aspire to be!  One song, or whatever the case that captures your attention, can do this.  All the more effort to help us to uncover what was already inside, to be our true selves, and be the amazing force for change that we can be.  Hopefully to instill a “moment” in another!

Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo) is a struggling record label executive in New York.  He’s down on his luck, can’t get an act together to save his career, his relationships with his wife Miriam (Catherine Keener) and daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld) are close to extinct, until one day he discovers that “moment”.  While at a bar he hears a reluctant songwriter Gretta James (Kiera Knightley) sing a song she was forced to play that night.  Dan imagines how beautiful and powerful Gretta’s music is as he pictures all the instruments surrounding her come to life in his head while she solely strums her guitar.  Begin Again is John Carney’s (Once) indie story of Dan & Gretta’s journey to musical and character fruition/growth.  They both learn about themselves and what the right thing to do truly is while “trying to make it”. 

I loved how the placement of celebrity Adam Levine’s character, Dave Kohl.  The same goes for the characters of Mos Def and more importantly CeeLo Green as Green is far from an actor.  Levine is not an actor as well, he’s not a bad one either, but nonetheless, he’s not an actor.  Yet he didn’t take the spotlight from the main characters of the story where this was clearly Dan & Gretta’s spotlight to shine.  Even with Levine’s big concert in the climatic ending doing what he does best, perform music; he wasn’t taking away the light from where it needed to place the majority of its focus.  He looked the part quite nicely I might add as my wardrobe is slowly converging to a similar look. 

Comedy director Judd Apatow even had a hand in the producing, so I knew something must be with this story.  The producing team sought to cast up and comer James Corden, hot off the theater circuit.  This film definitely has put him a brighter light in my book.  I now know because of Begin Again he definitely has what it takes to one-day stay on my good side.

All in all, I couldn’t believe how blown away I was with this film.  I knew I had witnessed something magical once the credits rolled, and I couldn’t wait to share this with others as experiences like such are all apart of what helps us to realize that we have what it takes to be amazing!

Begin Again
Drama, 104 Minutes, R
Written & Directed by: John Carney
Cast: Kiera Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine, James Corden, & Mos Def

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