Songs from the heart

This week’s Redbox Film Club pick is the musical masterpiece “Begin Again.”


Tyler Davis, Writer

There is a dichotomy in modern music, a not-so-clear divide between performers and musicians. On one side, glitzy and glamorous pop stars sing night club anthems written by professional songwriters for the sole purpose of making as much money as possible. Their songs mostly come in at two minutes and 42 seconds, a duration determined by scientists in a lab as the perfect song length. On the other side, broke musicians work as hard as they can, writing their own music, practicing together and recording their own albums, all for one reason — they love music. This divide lies at the center of “Begin Again,” a movie by director John Carney, the director of the hit broadway musical, “Once.”

“Begin Again” follows the story of Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced and recently unemployed record executive who is estranged from his wife. It details his chance meeting with Gretta (Keira Knightley) who recently broke up with her soon-to-be pop star boyfriend Dave Kohl (Adam Levine). The two meet at a bar where Gretta performs one of her original songs, which catches Dan’s attention. The two assemble a ragtag group of musicians in New York City to record her album in different locations around the city, ambient noise and all.


It is no secret that Ruffalo and Knightley are top-class actors. Their filmographies speak for themselves, and their talent immediately increases the quality of the film. Knightley’s character is adorable and relatable, and showcases Knightley’s musical talent. Her voice is unique, honest and fits her songs perfectly. Many moviegoers shuddered at the idea of Adam Levine acting on the big screen, but surprisingly he proves himself as a competent actor. His character is the one everyone loves to hate. His terrible songs, shameless arrogance and selfishness make it easy to despise him.

“Begin Again” is a celebration of true music in the age of inauthenticity. Truly great music is more powerful than any record label or corporation and has the power to change lives. It places value on marriage and focusing on the things in life that matter. Much like “Once,” this film is sure to be a favorite of music lovers everywhere.


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