Parents' Guide to

Begin Again

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Music-heavy film explores reinvention and forgiveness.

Movie R 2014 104 minutes
Begin Again Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 17+

Begin Again – Yes, Please Do

I wonder how many people who paid good money to see this came away wishing they had known better. Some cleaver visuals can’t make up for a laboured, swear fest script, and hammy performances... by people we know can do better – that is, if given the right ingredients. We’ve seen and heard it all before but thankfully, better than we are saddled with here. This may suit the ‘music’ followers, the genre obsessed, or fans of the stars but might prove highly torturous for many others.
age 14+

Great movie! Must watch!

This is a great movie with lots of positive messages about going for your dreams etc. This movie has an extreme amount of language which would not be suitable for young kids. It also has a moderate amount of sexual references (man asking his ex wife who she has been sleeping with etc). Overall this is an amazing movie with a great cast, music, story and I would definitely recommend.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (8 ):

The movie's fun, though it's a mite too familiar and feels like a re-tread of Once. Filmmaker John Carney loves to bring together characters at the nexus of loss and possibility, which he did brilliantly with that music-heavy debut. In Begin Again, he recaptures some -- but not all -- of the same magic by telling a similar story about another pair who find each other at just the moment when their lives are at their most chaotic and they're in sore need of inspiration and human connection. First, what works: Ruffalo is the emotional anchor of the film, grounding Dan in palpable vulnerability. His scenes are moving, especially when they include Steinfeld as a daughter aching for a father who will be present. And the rest of the cast -- even Levine, who's moonlighting here from his gig with Maroon 5 -- mostly keeps up with Ruffalo and Steinfeld.

For a movie in which the music is so crucial, there aren't too many songs that will really stay with the audience (except perhaps "Lost Stars," which is a stand-out); they get the job done, but they don't transport you. Knightley has a pretty voice, but it lacks the depth and heft of a seasoned musician. (No wonder the energy shifts when Levine takes the stage, showing how a performance can electrify.) Still, Begin Again captures the thrill of finding out that you've been given a second chance ... alongside the bittersweet pain of meeting someone who touches your soul but may just be passing through.

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