Last night I was talking to someone on Opentalk, and I mentioned falling in love with the movie ‘Begin Again.’ Guy said Begin Again is one of his favorite movies and we ended up talking about it for hours and he finally said,
“I grew up in a very musical family, I’ve played in bands all my life (not for the sake of having a “career,” just because it’s one of my passions), and both my parents worked in the music industry. It’s a hard world. It’s filled to the brim with substance abuse and self-destruction, not to mention, the whole collapse of the primary mode of music distribution has made it nearly impossible to find a stable gig.
Bottom line, this movie very accurately depicts the life of a songwriter in today’s world, but most importantly, it captures the process and – not to sound cheesy – the magic of songwriting better than any other movie in recent memory. The dominant theme in Begin Again for me is the idea that anybody today, in any setting, can create and publish something that has the potential to captivate masses of people. And, without spoiling anything, I would argue that the movie’s main point is that to create a “hit,” regarding songwriting, the origins of the track have to come from a genuine place. It can’t be a product micro-managed by execs looking to squeeze the song for a buck.
Yes, the movie has its minor share of cringe-worthy cheese, but I can overlook those flaws because never before have I seen the chemistry of music creation/performance so accurately depicted outside of actual performance. Begin Again works so well because it introduces these characters to us and gives us a context for their actions. We watch these characters develop, and the growth of their relationships with one another peaks when they are writing music together.
Some of these scenes brought me to tears. The star is Mark Ruffalo. Keira Knightly does her job well, and her ability to perform these songs herself is undoubtedly impressive, but this movie isn’t necessarily about the star. Ruffalo’s character is way too accurate a depiction of people in the music biz; he represents the culmination of the hit-or-miss and relentless nature of the industry. His redemption may be too good to be true, but the movie portrays it in a fashion that could indeed take place in our modern world. I can’t imagine how many interviews with producers/videos from recording sessions he must have watched to hone his role.”
I was surprised to see how he observed the entire movie and made so much sense. Thanks to Opentalk, I met an amazing person.