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From despair to victory in ‘Begin Again’

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Begin Again

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In this The Weinstein Company tribute to truly independent art, “Begin Again” teams Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley to deliver a tale about the enchantment of music and the magic of coming back from rock bottom.

Written and directed by John Carney (Once), “Begin Again” follows Dan (Ruffalo) from the desolation of failure to restoration. Wallowing in the disaster of a broken marriage and career, Dan appears to be little more than an eccentric record producer that gave it all up for booze.

His relationship with his daughter is strained, his business partner shoves him out and he’s living in a small New York apartment, still longing for his estranged wife. He is at the edge. One push might send him over.

Until the one thing that reaches into his life, like a lasso around his waist pulling him back to solid ground. Music.

Greta (Knightley) has just suffered her own heartbreak -- the shock of abandonment by the very person she had supported into his success. She had been there for years, but then the call of fame and fortune were much louder than her voice. And like that she finds herself alone in the one thing she can still recognize.

Music plays the role of medicine for heartache in “Begin Again” and the music is sensational. Adam Levine co-stars as a rocker on the rise who forgets where he came from. But it is his music that elevates the film in the end.

A great supporting cast includes Catherine Keener, Cee-Lo and Mos Def, who add to the passion and the splendor of the music biz.

“Begin Again” is the kind of film that is a ride. Just sit back and enjoy it. There will be laughs. There will be tears. Hope and meaning are the course explored. Watching these characters meet their potential in love and in music is uplifting. It’s so good, the worst part is that it ends.

Funny with sentimental balance and emotional intelligence, this is one of those films that surprises with its simple show of rebuilding by returning to the the self. Each character rediscovers the beauty of who they are and the importance of the relationships they’ve cultivated.

This is what happens when people save each other. Along the way they end up saving themselves. Digging deep means finding the courage to begin again.

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