new beginnings, music & city skylines \ “Begin Again”

“That’s what I love about music, it suddenly turns banalities into beautiful, effervescent pearls.”


I picked up a bag of chips today and settled down for a movie to reward myself for having gone through a rather treacherous week of exams. I’ve been waiting so long for these websites (where they show free movies in legit quality – a haven for cheapskates like me) to upload this movie for some time now – and I’m so very glad that they finally did it. Because Begin Again seems like the kind of movie that I’d enjoy – and it definitely did not fail my high expectations.

Begin Again‘s soundtrack (do check it out here) features this full panoply of great, great, great songs of a rather alternative pop genre, sang by artistes like Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green (who co-starred in it), and amazingly, British actress Keira Knightley (whom I noticed during the film that oh gosh, she isn’t totally perfect – because of her set of teeth that kinda resembles my crooked ones – and wow she is still beautiful) who has surprisingly stunning vocals which can easily pass off as a recording artiste’s. She plays Gretta, a songwriter (only for pleasure) who is a musical partner of her long-time boyfriend Dave (played by Adam Levine). They go to New York City for a venture together, helping Dave to start up his personal career in the music industry. And you know what we always hear of musicians – they have parties, they travel, they hook up – and so in stereotypical fashion, Dave cheated on Gretta, and she instantaneously walked out on him, which led her to meet a depressed record label exec, Dan, (played by (oh good heavens) Mark Ruffalo), who was constantly in search of a new, ‘authentic’ artiste whom he can sign and bring to fame. And of course things went well for Gretta and Dan and they produced a low-budget, fantastic album which sold thousands of copies on the date of release.

I hope every breakup ends up like this – you take a turn, a leap of faith – and meet someone as lost as you to help you get back up again.
I hope every breakup ends up like this – you indulge in greater things you love to do – be it writing a song (like how Gretta did and singing it over voice mail to Dave as a rant – totally owned it) to that asshole who “took the wind out from your sails”.
I hope every breakup ends up like this – you are able to live even when you’re alone – you can tour the city, show yourself the night skyline sometime, and, celebrate your independence as a free spirit who has the utmost advantage of roaming around with your restless feet (whether your single-hood is going to be permanent or temporary – hopefully not the former for you hopefuls).

Speaking of which, the movie was filmed in the many parts of New York and it triggered my wanderlust again. Seeing Gretta ride a bike (but fuck it because yours truly is not even a bike-riding amateur. I can walk, however) along the streets of NYC got me itching to migrate and live alone in a big city someday. And I love films that pay tribute to the city. An Affair to Remember, Sleepless in Seattle, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Enchanted, (of course my favorite) When Harry Met Sally, On The Town… there’s just so many of these screened acts that can captivate us. It makes me feel like wow, the city seems to be so full of magic (naive, fulls of cliches, but frank).

If you’re in need of “Yeah I get that” moments, a little bit of sobbing, and a tinge of optimism (say, after a breakup?), you’ll be into this one. John Carney did a terrific job by blending in the elements of romance, music and encapsulating the sights and sounds of the city. It once again lit up the silver lining warrior in me. Toast to the douche bags! They bring us down but we emerge greater!

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