I was rooting for Dan to help make magic with Gretta’s songs

(From syracusenewtimes.com)

(From syracusenewtimes.com)

When Gretta, Dan, Violet and the rest of the band were really cranking on Gretta’s song up there on a New York City roof in the middle of the movie “Begin Again,” I knew I loved this film.

I neighbor opened up a window and shouted at them to shut that loud music up.

Three minutes more, they yelled back.

This feel-good film, written by John Carney and starring Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley, has everything I like about a movie that incorporates music into the story line.

The main characters — songwriter and musician Gretta and record company guy Dan — and believable, human, likable for their faults and good points.

They have nice friends and not-as-nice foils — played by Adam Levine, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and Cee Lo Green from the music world and James Corden, Catherine Keener and Hailee Steinfield from the acting world.

The plot is not obvious. Carney kept me wondering about Dan’s relationship with his wife and daughter, Gretta’s relationship with her ex, and Dan’s relationship with Gretta, too.

And the live music scenes have to look and sound real.

And these, filmed at various spots around Manhattan, surely admirably filled my eyes and ears. Besides the rooftop best, one song recorded in an alley, with neighborhood kids convinced to sing backup, is truly a winner.

Bravo, cast and crew.

If you’d like to read my review of “Begin Again” for today’s installment of my film blog on the Syracuse New Times site, click the link below.


Do you enjoy movies that incorporate music into the story line? Which movies about music are your favorites, and why? What song that you’ve seen performed during a movie scene would you like to sing on a karaoke night, and why?

28 thoughts on “I was rooting for Dan to help make magic with Gretta’s songs

  1. This movie looks like a wonderful one, I love the idea of music playing an integral part of the plot, too! Of course, I enjoy Keira Knightley, Adam Levine and Mark Ruffalo. I was surprised that my youngest daughter ‘checked this one out without her mama!’ She went with some girlfriends so we were left last Wed. to see “22 Jump Street.” I cannot remember if you review it, but it was okay. It was funny in parts. I liked the last part of the movie,(instead of “out takes”) where they pretended to make the future Jump Streets, including being Russian students, Veterinarian students, Medical School students… We laughed and enjoyed it for the simple movie it was. Now, will have to see “Begin Again,” with a girlfriend! Thanks, Mark for the positive review! Oh, by the way, Felicia thought the movie was good but not as good as expected! Kids!


    • I thought ‘Jump Steet’ was OK, but nowhere near the level of ‘Begin Again.: Different league, in fact, Robin.

      You are right.

      Kids! How dare she go with her friends instead of you?! 😉


  2. I love music in movies. And just about any of the “old” songs from the old movies would make me pop out in song. Poorly sung, but singing anyway. I had not even HEARD of this movie. My head is in the sand apparently.


  3. Oh jeez, Mark, I’m just going to say “Searching for Sugar Man”, a movie which I adored and know that other great movies will pop into my mind as soon as I hit “post.” And i hope you are having an awesome first day back at work.


  4. Want to see it! The trailers look good. It might be fun to get on a float like Ferris Bueller and have the entire city sing “Twist and Shout.” And most girls my age would have liked a boy to stand with a jambox under their window and play “In Your Eyes” like Cusack did in “Say Anything.”


  5. Thanks, Mark, for helping make magic in my day with the appearance of this post. I will put this film in my To Watch list. And to answer your always excellent questions in the short time I have available right now: Yes. Repeat previous answer.

    I am thinking about you today and hoping everything is going well.


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