This musical came out in 2013 and all everyone knew about it was the song “Lost Stars”. Seven years down the line and I am still a little pissed that they gave the best song in the movie to Dave even though the film is about Gretta and Dan. But that’s just a bitter pill to swallow at this point. So moving past it, the film is about the recently single Gretta, played by Keira Knightley, who meets Dan, played by Mark Ruffalo as they go on to let music heal both their lives, forming a genuine bond of friendship and honesty with one another along the way.
On first glance, we see how the two leads are both going through relationship troubles as Gretta’s ex-boyfriend Dave cheated on him and left her alone in a new city and Dan is a drunkard, unemployed and is separated from his wife Miriam and has an estranged relationship with his daughter. Even his daughter Violet has obvious daddy issues. On the one hand she dresses provocatively, hoping to get her father to notice her issues and spend more time with her and on the other, she learns how to play the guitar, possibly in an attempt to impress her father since he is himself in the music industry. She follows in on his footsteps, hoping to do him proud. We even learn that Miriam was going to divorce Dan for another guy who left her hanging and that caused Dan to spiral down and make his life a mess. Every character in the film is having their own personal struggles and music brings everyone together. Music allows them to heal.
But on rewatching, I sensed that the film is actually about grabbing opportunities when they present themselves. My point will get very clear as I elaborate with two examples of two different characters. First let us discuss Gretta. She stepped out of her comfort zone when she performed her song in the bar where she happened to meet Dan. And with that, she opened a world of opportunities for herself. She not only found someone who would prove vital in getting her career to move forward, but she also found a friend for life and the chance to do what she loves and let it work as therapy in moving on after her unfortunate heart break. The opportunity, which thankfully she grabbed, allowed her to discover more about herself and it got her to become a more confident person. She matured herself as an individual outside of her relationship and stopped living in Dave’s shadow. By opening herself to a new experience, Gretta was able to change her life for the better. She was able to make something of herself because of it. Now, on the opposite end, we have Saul Byron. He was so consumed in his obsessive need to make a certain type of music that it blinded him from spotting the potential of Gretta’s music. Not only did he loose out on a wonderful artist who would have proven to be very lucrative for him and for his production company, but by remaining rigid, he also pushed her into deciding to rebel against the entire music industry by putting up her music on the internet, providing people with a direct access to it at substantially low costs.
Begin Again shows us how important it is not only to hold on to our identity, but also the beauty of letting our interests and passion guide us to a healthier place. It teaches us to have more faith in ourselves instead of continuing to sell ourselves short. It teaches us to open ourselves to new experiences and to step outside our normal and challenge ourselves because we never know, these might end up changing our lives forever.