A chance encounter between a disgraced music-business executive and a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan turns into a promising collaboration between the two talents.
Running Time: 1hr 44min
MPAA Rating: R
Review by Margaret Pomeranz
John Carney who made the charming 2006 film ONCE has again put music at the heart and soul of his second feature. Mark Ruffalo stars as Dan, a music producer on a downhill slide. He’s lost his job at the record company he co-founded, is separated from his wife – Catherine Keener and has alienated his daughter – Hailee Steinfeld. After one truly terrible day he gets drunk and staggers into a bar where he sees Gretta – Keira Knightly – reluctantly performing one of her own compositions. For him she’s the next big thing.
Gretta is all set to return to England after her newly famous rock star boyfriend strayed into areas that betrayed their relationship. She’s not ready to begin a career of her own in New York, but Dan’s ideas interest her.
This is such a nice film, gentle, musically romantic, beautifully performed by Ruffalo and Knightley, with solid support from James Corden as Gretta’s friend and by Adam Levine as Gretta’s boyfriend Dave, as well as from the ever wonderful Catherine Keener and young Hailee Steinfeld, who was so memorable in True Grit. There’s a freshness to this film, Carney’s astuteness and his music background – he contributed to the songs in the film – have resulted in a feel-good movie that avoids cliché. A plus in the film is Dan’s decision to record the album live on the streets of New York, so there’s an immediacy to them.