Here’s the back-of-the-envelope plot summary from the official Begin Again web site:
The latest film from writer-director John Carney (ONCE), 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.
It’s a movie about music, so I’m an easy sell to begin with, but much more than that, it’s the cinema of redemption. Without giving away anything, I hope, everyone is a better person by the end of the film, the signal characteristic of the best benedies.
Begin Again features real musicians in supporting roles, and that’s fun, too, even if you will never believe that a character played by rapper Mos Def could be named Saul. And Maroon Five’s Adam Levine gets to take a star turn – not as an actor but as a funked-up falsetto solo artist:
This is a good date-night movie. It’s too gritty and rough for kids, but the arguments about love, marriage, family and doing good work against all odds are redemptive for you, too. Plus which, Keira Knightley slays, as ever, and the music is wonderful. I gave it five stars on Netflix, and we’ve watched it twice – so far.