(Reposted from movies4maniacs.tumblr.com on July 27th, 2014)

Like I said in a previous post, 2014 has been an excellent year for movies. Not just for comic book movies either or for sci fi movies or for fantasy movies but for all movies in general.

My personal favourite… so far, has been ‘Begin Again’, staring Mark Ruffalo, Kiera Knightly, Haliee Stienfled, Catherine Keener and Adam Levine.

This small, independent film was produced by The Weinstein Company and takes place entirely in New York City. Down and out Record Producer Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo) is fired from his long-time job at the record label he helped create. An alcoholic with family troubles, Mulligan almost throws himself into an oncoming New York subway train when he stumbles into a small club and hears Greta (Kiera Knightly) play one of her songs. Greta, the former English girlfriend of the biggest rock star on the planet, Dave Kohl (Adam Levine) is dumped by Kohl that same night and goes to the club with a friend. A reluctant Greta soon takes the stage and plays one of her songs for the more than tepid crowd. After which… we ‘Begin Again’.

Above is the setup for the film and I won’t divulge any spoilers but what I loved about this film was the honestly in the human relationships between the two main characters, Dan and Greta who struggle in two different ways before meeting each other. Dan’s struggles with alcoholism and his dysfunctional family. His daughter Violet is played wonderfully by Haliee Steinfeld and his ex-wife Miriam, is played by the always charming Catherine Keener. In addition to this, Greta’s struggles with her cheating ex-boyfriend and her story is just as interesting as Dan’s. Through in the fact that Greta is thousands of miles away from home, her story makes for some wonderful drama and even a little bit of comedy.

In films like this, you might ask yourself, why should I care about these characters? It’s basically nothing more than two people dealing with problems. While that’s true, what ‘Begin Again’ has working for it, is the music. Written and directed by John Carney, the same writer/director who gave us ‘Once’, the original pieces of music in the film are quite good. While I’m more of a fan of 90’s rock, punk and alternative, Kiera Knightly’s voice is really unbelievable and her songs are pretty fantastic. I can see why she was cast, as the emotions of the film, everything from heartbreak to depression to triumph and even redemption, come through loud and clear in her voice. While I’m not a Maroon 5 fan, Adam Levine’s songs are used in the film to contrast Greta’s indie sound with his character’s more mainstream, pop sound and even his songs are really good. Adam Levine also surprised me by being really good in this film. Even Cee Lo Green, who’s in the film briefly, does an amazing job with the role he’s given.

I cannot recommend this film enough. I love smaller, indie films, based on characters and human drama. I love the turnaround from down and out and heartbroken to successful and content. It goes without mentioning that the film gives some really thoughtful commentary on the future of the music industry and the small cameo by a long haired Rob Morrow, made me laugh.

If this is your first time to my site, I like to rate movies on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being unfavourable and 10 being favourable and I give ‘Begin Again’ a 9.5/10. I take off half a point for an obligatory conflict scene, even though it was executed well, I thought was a bit predictable at that point of the film. However, no film is perfect, even the ones I love.

I hope you go see this film and that you enjoy it as much as I do.