Film No 34 (2014) : Begin Again

begin againKeira Knightley does something really annoying with her jaw. Had I been the girl’s mother, I’d have whipped her off to the orthodontist years ago! Her agent probably thinks the frozen grimaces and wonky teeth add to her authenticity, but the weird mandibular activity bugs the hell out of me. No doubt I am being unforgivably spiteful; Knightley is, after all, a highly acclaimed actor, with many successes to her name.

In ‘Begin Again’, KK plays Gretta, the girlfriend of an up-and-coming rock star, Dave Kohl (yes, as in the eyeliner, only not as black). She accompanies him to New York for a recording session and tour, but his infidelity prompts Gretta to end their relationship. Heartbroken and lonely, Gretta is comforted by fellow ex-pat Steve (James Corden), who persuades her to take to the stage in a local bar’s ‘open mike’ session. There, her rendition of a song she wrote, attracts the attention of record-label executive Dan Mulligan (played by Mark Ruffalo – not to be confused with Gruffalo, although he does look strangely like one). Dan likes Gretta’s composition and he persuades her to record an album. But will her talent and new-found confidence, help win back her man?

Whilst I was supposed to be concentrating on the movie, I confess my mind did wander a bit. I ended up thinking a) music is not very important in my life now, although it was in the past. I prefer silence these days and also b) I miss having male friendships. I mean, I know that I have friends who are men, but they are all attached to my friends who are women. The number of male friends I have ‘of my own’, could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Or, more truthfully, on one thumb. Conversations and socialising with men give a different perspective, but my life is very female-orientated. That’s what I was musing about.

‘Begin Again’ was directed by John Carney, who also brought ‘Once’ to the big screen. ‘Once’ is the tale of a vacuum cleaner repairman-cum-musician who falls in love with an odd-job-woman who happens to be a rather excellent pianist. Together the couple make beautiful music. With a few tweaks, I think ‘Begin Again’ and ‘Once’ are the same film!

The soundtrack to ‘Begin Again’ was entertaining at the time, but instantly forgettable. Not a single bar remained in my head the next morning. Actually, the only ear worm I had was –

There was an old man named Michael Finnegan
He grew fat and then grew thin ag’in
then he died, and had to begin ag’in
Poor old Michael, please don’t begin ag’in

Please don’t begin again, ‘Begin Again’.

It wasn’t awful, but ‘Once’ was enough!