BY NANCY R. MANDELL
Is John Carney, the writer and director of “Begin Again,” just a Johnny One-Note? Or was “Once” truly not enough for this musician turned filmmaker?
Sorry, but the puns are inevitable. A former bassist in the Irish rock band The Frames, Carney is the party responsible for “Once,” the multi-award winning 2006 indie film that went on to earn a Tony for Best Musical in its Broadway reincarnation. While the two movies share Carney’s view of musical collaboration as another kind of love affair, “Begin Again” uses an excellent cast--headed by Mark Ruffalo and (surprisingly out of period costume) Keira Knightley--to make us understand this complex connection.
This is not exactly a SPOILER ALERT in the traditional sense, but be warned that if your idea of a summer movie involves superheroes, supernaturals or super-machines, you can cross this film off your must-see list. “Begin Again” is that summer sleeper about the complicated ways people relate to each other. It may put your emotions through the wringer, but it lets you off with a smile.