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Begin Again Review

I’m not giving this one a rating. I’m sick of it. I’m tired of watching films (many being all too similar) and assigning them stars that give you guys a superficial quantity of my opinion – like some temperamental tinkerbell for hire. I’ll probably come back running next time, but at present I’d rather let the words be the sole influence, as a number can never properly convey the breadth of the writer’s impression.

Anyway, let’s review le movie. To avoid a painfully routine plot summary, or to at least make it shorter…two people from completely different backgrounds have similar romantic train wrecks, then they meet together and make music.

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Prima facie it looks like the common drama/romance (isn’t there always drama in romance?). And sometimes it is, particularly in the first act when everything’s set up to let you believe that, but Begin Again veers off after the equilibrium.

It deviates into a chunky flashback about everything Elizabeth Swan was doing before that moment. Structurally is was quite random, but it gave her character interesting narrative hindsight. Sure if it would have been safer to show this in the order it happened – and far more boring. It reminded me of something I twice heard – ‘everyone you meet is fighting a secret battle you know nothing about’. That’s precisely what this tangent illuminated. It gave a retrospect to Ms Swan’s attitude and a sympathetic context for her meeting with Dr Bruce Banner.

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Thereafter the movie becomes a montage of musical street shenanigans, and entertains some genuinely, for lack of a better word, cool ideas and moments of insightful introspect. Though (fun)ny, it’s the climax where Begin Again shows how natural it is. The expectations and tropes the film has been toying with don’t actually happen, leaving one character with a quasi-resolution and the other with a lonely but satisfying quiescence as they end one chapter to start another. It’s natural, doesn’t feel like a script, it’s unfair – that’s what life can be like.

That may be exactly what the film’s trying to portray, an undiscriminating romance where not everything that should happen does, and not everything resolves in predictable fashion. Due to my aforementioned ignorance with this breed of movie, my fascination for what seems like something fresh may in truth be a road well-travelled. I wouldn’t know – I’m simply not versed in the genre. Though nevertheless, my enjoyment with this ‘anomaly’ remains, and while my experience with drama films is limited, my experience with life, I like to think is not.

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