Begin Again (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Begin Again
Begin Again film poster 2014.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Carney
Produced by
  • Anthony Bregman
  • Tobin Armbrust
  • Judd Apatow
Written by John Carney
Music by Gregg Alexander
Cinematography Yaron Orbach
Edited by Andrew Marcus
Distributed by The Weinstein Company[1]
Release dates
  • September 7, 2013 (2013-09-07) (TIFF)
  • June 27, 2014 (2014-06-27) (United States)[2]
Running time 104 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million[4]
Box office $52.3 million[5]

Begin Again (formerly Can a Song Save Your Life?)[6] is a 2013 American musical drama film written and directed by John Carney, starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine and James Corden. It had its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and was released theatrically in July 2014.[7]

Gregg Alexander co-wrote songs for the film with Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley, Rick Nowels and Nick Southwood. John Carney and Glen Hansard also contributed as songwriters for the film's music. The featured song "Lost Stars" was written by Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley and Nick Southwood.


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.



The film was directed by John Carney[13] and produced by Anthony Bregman for Exclusive Media.[14] Production began in New York on July 2, 2012.[15] Filming locations include the Washington Square Park in New York City.[16] On September 8, 2013, The Weinstein Company acquired the rights to distribute the film.[1] It was released in the United States on June 27, 2014 and reached a $21.8 million box office gross at the box office with a $10 million budget. The Weinstein Company announced in August, 2014 that it will be re-releasing the hit music film in theaters nationwide starting Friday, August 29.[17]


It was released on June 30, 2014 through ALXNDR, 222 Records, Polydor, and Interscope in the United States.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Artist Length
1. "Lost Stars"   Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley, Nick Southwood Adam Levine 4:27
2. "Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home"   Gregg Alexander, Nick Lashley Keira Knightley 3:39
3. "No One Else Like You"   Gregg Alexander, Nick Lashley Adam Levine 3:28
4. "Horny"   Gregg Alexander, Rick Nowels CeeLo Green 3:38
5. "Lost Stars"   Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley, Nick Southwood Keira Knightley 4:00
6. "A Higher Place"   Gregg Alexander, Rick Nowels Adam Levine 3:12
7. "Like a Fool"   John Carney Keira Knightley 2:27
8. "Did It Ever Cross Your Mind (Demo Version)"   Gregg Alexander Cessyl Orchestra 3:38
9. "Women of the World (Go on Strike!)"   Gregg Alexander, CeeLo Green, Rick Nowels CeeLo Green 3:15
10. "Coming Up Roses"   Glen Hansard, Danielle Brisebois Keira Knightley 3:13
11. "Into the Trance"   Gregg Alexander Cessyl Orchestra 4:05
12. "A Step You Can't Take Back"   John Carney, Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois Keira Knightley 3:25
13. "Lost Stars (Into the Night Mix)"   Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley, Nick Southwood Adam Levine 3:38
14. "The Roof is Broke (Demo Mix)"   Gregg Alexander Cessyl Orchestra 3:00
15. "Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home (Roof Top Mix)" (featuring Hailee Steinfeld) Gregg Alexander, Nick Lashley Keira Knightley 3:27
16. "Intimidated by You"   Gregg Alexander Cessyl Orchestra 2:28


Chart (2014) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[18] 35
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[19] 191
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[20] 84
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[21] 15
French Albums (SNEP)[22] 74
Korean Albums (GAON)[23] 4
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[24] 25
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[25] 11
UK Compilation Albums (OCC)[26] 22
US Billboard 200[27] 22
US Top Soundtracks (Billboard)[27] 1


Begin Again was met with mostly positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 82%, based on 140 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's consensus reads, "Writer-director John Carney's return to musical drama isn't quite as potent as it was with Once, but thanks to charming work from its well-matched leads, Begin Again is difficult to resist."[28] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 62 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[29]


  1. ^ a b "The Weinstein Company Takes Can a Song Save Your Life?". Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  2. ^ "Can a Song Save Your Life?". Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  3. ^ "BEGIN AGAIN (15)". Entertainment One. British Board of Film Classification. May 16, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Cox, Gordon (March 20, 2014). "‘Begin Again,’ Formerly Called ‘Can A Song Save Your Life?,’ to Close 2014 Tribeca Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Toronto film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian (London). July 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  8. ^ a b c Lattanzio, Ryan (March 20, 2014). "Tribeca Film Fest Announces Closing Night Film". Indiewire. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ Fleming, Michael (June 18, 2012). "Tony Winner James Corden Lands Paul Potts Pic And ‘Can A Song Save Your Life?’". Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  10. ^ Midgarden, Cory (July 31, 2012). "Cee Lo Takes Mentor Role To Big Screen In 'Can A Song Save Your Life?'". MTV. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  11. ^ Kit, Borys (August 2, 2012). "Mos Def Joins 'Can A Song Save Your Life?' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  12. ^ Patten, Dominic (June 26, 2012). "Catherine Keener Joins ‘Can A Song Save Your Life?’". 
  13. ^ Harp, Justin (June 28, 2012). "Cee Lo Green joins Keira Knightley in 'Can a Song Save Your Life?'". Digital Spy. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Cee Lo Green In ‘Can A Song Save Your Life?’". June 28, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  15. ^ Kenneally, Tim (June 29, 2012). "Cee Lo Green will share the big screen with Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Stanfied and Catherine Keener in the upcoming John Carney film "Can a Song Save Your Life?"". Reuters. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  16. ^ Montenegro, Laura (July 27, 2012). "Keira Knightley: Can a Song Save Your Life? Sure Looks That Way". E! Online. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Weinstein Company to Re-Release BEGIN AGAIN". The Movie Network. August 25, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Soundtrack – Begin Again". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  19. ^ "Soundtrack – Begin Again" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  20. ^ "Soundtrack – Begin Again" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  21. ^ "Soundtrack – Begin Again". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  22. ^ "Soundtrack – Begin Again". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  23. ^ "South Korea GAON Albums Chart". On the page, select "2014.08.31~2014.09.06" to obtain the corresponding chart. Korean Charts. GAON. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  24. ^ "Soundtrack – Begin Again". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  25. ^ "Soundtrack – Begin Again". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  26. ^ "2014-07-26 Top 40 Compilation Albums Archive | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  27. ^ a b "Begin Again: Music from and Inspired by the Original Motion Picture Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  28. ^ Retrieved September 20, 2014
  29. ^ Retrieved September 20, 2014

External links[edit]