Archive | July, 2014

You Weren’t Supposed to Lose the Song in It

2 Jul

Begin Again movie posterThere’s a scene early in John Carney’s new movie Begin Again where the two main characters are discussing the concept of authenticity in the music business.

Gretta (Keira Knightley) suggests that Bob Dylan is an artist who stands up to her lofty standards. “That’s the most cultivated artist you could have thought of!” Dan (Mark Ruffalo) shoots back, arguing that Dylan’s image is totally manufactured, with a look that changes every decade.

So Gretta changes course and suggests Randy Newman is the most authentic artist of all time. Even Dan has to admit she’s right: Newman has never tried to be a star. He’s just done his own thing for years, without kowtowing to the audience.

The discussion underlines the differences between this latest release, and Carney’s last U.S.–released film, the instant classic Once. In that one, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova play two broken-hearted musicians who come together on the streets of Dublin and heal themselves through the power of music. It’s a subtle, sweet, small miracle of a film, one that features great songs (one of which won an Oscar for Best Original Song) and performances that are earnest, fragile, and heartfelt. It’s totally authentic. (Hell, Hansard and Irglova even fell in love while making it.)

If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right? No wonder Carney here tells a very similar music-heals-all story Continue reading