Begin Again (2014): John Carney’s Musical Serio Comedy, Starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo

John Carney wrote and helmed Begin Again, a dramedy with music, starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo.

Knightley plays a singer-songwriter who is discovered by a struggling record label executive (Ruffalo) and collaborates with him to produce an album, which recorded in public locations all over New York City.

After the success of his 2007 musical Once, Carney wrote the script for Begin Again in 2010 and asked Gregg Alexander to compose the film’s music.

With $8 million budget, production began in July 2012 with filming taking place in various locations around New York City.

Premiering at the 2013 Toronto Film Fest, Begin Again was released theatrically almost a year later, on June 27, 2014.

A commercial hit, the movie grossed over $63 million worldwide.

Grade: B (***1/2* out if *****)

Begin Again
Begin Again film poster 2014.jpg

Theatrical release poster

Oscar Context:

It was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar for the tune, “Lost Stars.”


Directed, written by John Carney
Produced by Anthony Bregman, Tobin Armbrust, Judd Apatow Cinematography Yaron Orbach
Edited by Andrew Marcus
Music by Gregg Alexander

Production companies: Exclusive Media, Sycamore Pictures, Black Label Media, Likely Story, Apatow Productions

Distributed by The Weinstein Company

Release dates: Sept 7, 2013 (TIFF); June 27, 2014 (US)

Running time: 104 minutes
Budget: $8 million
Box office: $65.7 million