Begin Again


Begin Again

Critics Consensus

Writer-director John Carney's return to musical drama isn't quite as potent as it was with Once, but thanks to charming work from its well-matched leads, Begin Again is difficult to resist.



Total Count: 161


Audience Score

User Ratings: 39,913
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Movie Info

The latest film from writer-director John Carney (ONCE), BEGIN AGAIN is a soul-stirring comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together. Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City. BEGIN AGAIN is produced and financed by Exclusive Media and produced by Anthony Bregman, Tobin Armbrust and Judd Apatow. (C) Weinstein


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Critic Reviews for Begin Again

All Critics (161) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (133) | Rotten (28)

  • John Carney is not afraid of a cliche. After all, Begin Again is a musical, a genre that has always thrived on them. And he does know how to shape them to his own design, which is low-key and slightly tongue-in-cheek.

    Aug 4, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The trouble with this movie -- aside from its lack of visual wonder and musical shape -- is that you don't trust its priorities.

    Jul 16, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Another sappy but engaging musical fable from the Irish writer and director John Carney, who made "Once."

    Jul 14, 2014 | Full Review…

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic
  • The wholesome, hopeful, let's-put-on-a-show enthusiasm may sound hokey but it's actually infectiously joyful. At the same time, Carney roughs up the edges just enough to make this fairy tale seem somewhat accessible and realistic.

    Jul 12, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • This soulful outing is sure to please music lovers. And isn't that everyone?

    Jul 11, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Begin Again is a not-entirely-successful movie about not selling out; it's a theme that must concern Carney deeply.

    Jul 11, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Begin Again

  • Nov 09, 2016
    In some ways, Carney just remakes his wonderful "Once" under US conditions here. It's not entirely the same story but neither particularly original. It works thanks to some of the actors, but Knightley still feels like an odd choice and Levine is not much of an actor. What saves the films are little, original scenes, like the performances (of mostly mediocre songs) at unusual places or the "try not to dance" party game. A charming movie, with a few slow parts and odd priorities, but overall still enjoyable.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 25, 2016
    This movie started pretty slow and I got worried that I'd need to go grab a pillow and blanket. It rapidly picks up and gives the audience a fun story with fun characters to rally around. Watching our main characters have to recruit "rookie" music talent across New York City is great and makes you really invested with their struggle. I got nervous that they would have Kiera Knightly and Mark Ruffalo be together in the end, but their friendship really drives the ending home for me. A great movie for a Sunday Night.
    Hayden B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 07, 2016
    Short and sweet and does everything you want it to.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • May 22, 2016
    This is a movie I anticipated upon release until learning that it wouldn't come anywhere near where I live, so I forgot about it until recently when it was uploaded to Netflix. I can now say with certainty that it was a film worth anticipating. Begin Again is a heartfelt piece of film led by fantastic work from Ruffalo and Knightley. Their chemistry is palpable, and both characters are effectively fleshed-out and easy to cheer for. Hailee Steinfeld is also a standout performer as the daughter - I'm definitely going to keep an eye on her work going forward. All of the other performers fit into their typecast, not standing out but not holding the movie back in any way. My only complaint about this movie is the authenticity of the music. For an album being recorded live in the busy streets of New York City, there was a lot of excessive production to clean it up for the audience. It just didn't feel as genuine as it could have - the music itself was very good and could have been better if truly done live. I understand it'd be a challenge to accomplish, but at least one or two numbers could have been done properly. Other than that, I will say that this is a movie worth checking out on Netflix. Go watch it!
    Ben B Super Reviewer

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