Friday, 29 August 2014

Can A Song Save Your Life?

Long time readers know about my love of musicals, mostly the MGM musicals of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. A good song can capture the feelings of the characters in a way that 100 lines of dialogue cannot. It's a crying shame that my favourite genre is not all that commercially viable anymore.  Studios are now more concerned with bad sequels, and adaptions of YA novels.

Then along comes Begin Again to remind me that if done right the modern musical transforms my soul and captures my heart. I loved the movie so much that I saw it twice in 5 days. The movie plays like a typical romantic melodrama, but the last act makes smart choices. which places it in the pantheon of 21st century movie musicals.

Keira Knightly plays a struggling musician whose life is transformed when a washed up music executive hears one of her songs. Sounds unbelievable, doesn't it? The trick of the movie musical is to suspend disbelief. This is very easy to do, especially when the movie's opening number is so darn good.

I'm not going to lie, the appearance of Keira Knightly certainly helped matters, especially when she is singing. But it is really Mark Ruffalo whose great talents as an actor are always drastically undervalued, who carries the film. Begin Again also achieved the impossible by making Adam Levine's voice tolerable, which is an achievement in itself. It didn't surprise me that John Carney both wrote and directed this film, for he is the same guy who was involved in making Once, another fantastic modern musical.

I am likely to be stranded on my own critical island at the end of the year when I name this film in my top 10 films of 2014. Despite critical apathy, Begin Again moved my heart and soul to joyous extremes, because I am indeed a lost star trying to light up the dark.

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