You’re as strong as your next move.
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.
About the Story
Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo) is a struggling record label executive living in New York City. One night, while drinking at a bar in the East Village, he encounters Gretta (Keira Knightley), a young and fiercely independent songwriter whose music captivates him. Certain that he can make her into a star, Dan offers to sign her to his company’s label. But Gretta, determined not to compromise her principles as an artist for the sake of fame, turns him down and he walks away. However, when she leaves the bar, Dan is waiting for her and convinces her to join him for a drink.
Through flashbacks, it is revealed that Dan is estranged from his wife Miriam (Catherine Keener) and was recently fired from his job, having not signed any new artists in over seven years. After a heated argument with his wife over their teenage daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld), Dan goes on a drinking binge which ultimately brings him into the bar that night. Likewise, Gretta has just broken up with her long-time boyfriend and songwriting partner Dave Kohl (Adam Levine), a successful musician who had an affair with one of his producers while away in Los Angeles. Angry and heartbroken, Gretta intends to leave New York for good, but Dan suggests that she take some time to think about his offer.
After a change of heart, Gretta calls Dan the next day and agrees to let him produce her music. They meet with Saul (Mos Def), Dan’s business partner and co-founder of the independent music label Distressed Records, but unfortunately he does not see the same potential in Gretta and turns her away. Undeterred, Dan proposes that he and Gretta produce their own album together, to be recorded live during the summer at various public locations around New York City.
Recruiting a team of talented musicians, including Gretta’s best friend Steve (James Corden), Dan sets out to make an album worthy of being published by his label. During this time, Dan and Gretta bond both personally and professionally, and Gretta takes Dan’s daughter, a fledgling guitarist, under her wing and encourages her to play on the album.
When Gretta sees Dave accepting an award on television, she criticizes him for selling out to the music industry. Sick of his betrayal, she expresses her grievances with him in a song which she records on his voice mail. A remorseful Dave, who is back in New York to promote his new album, returns her call and asks to see her, but Gretta does not respond.
With the album finished, Dan and Gretta meet again with Saul. While he is very impressed with their collaboration, Gretta demands a bigger share in the deal for Dan, herself, and her bandmates. They leave without reaching an agreement, but Dan feels confident that Saul will eventually sign Gretta to the label.
After some consideration, Gretta decides to meet with Dave and they critique each other’s albums. However, Gretta feels betrayed by Dave’s heavily commercialized rendition of Lost Stars (a love ballad she had written for him as a Christmas gift when they were still together), believing that the true meaning of the song has been lost. Nevertheless, Dave invites her to come and hear him play the song at the Gramercy Theatre that weekend (partly as an attempt to make up with her) so that she can see the impact it has had on his fans.
Gretta arrives at the venue just in time to watch him play her arrangement of the song. Though he invites her to come on stage and perform with the band, she declines, but as Gretta watches Dave play, she realizes how much his priorities have changed, and that music and fame will always take precedence in his life. Faced with this newly discovered truth, Gretta leaves the concert and bikes through the city with a newfound acceptance of closure and a dawning smile on her face.
Afterwards, Gretta visits Dan at his apartment as he prepares to move back home, having made amends with his wife. She tells him that she does not want him to publish her album, instead preferring to distribute it online. Reluctantly, Dan agrees and contacts Troublegum (CeeLo Green), a popular rap musician who helps to promote the release via Twitter. The next day, Dan is informed by Saul that Gretta’s album sold 10,000 copies in its first day.
Directed by: John Carney
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, Sheena Colette, Adam Levine, Aya Cash
Screenplay by: John Carney
Production Design by: Chad Keith
Cinematography by: Yaron Orbach
Film Editing by: Andrew Marcus
Costume Design by: Arjun Bhasin
Set Decoration by: Kris Moran
Music by: Gregg Alexander
MPAA Rating: R for language.
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: July 4, 2014