Gretta (Knightley) has just left her soon-to-be-famous song writing partner/boyfriend Dave (Levine) and is spending her last night in New York with old pal Steve (Corden). Steve is performing at an open mic night and he convinces Gretta to perform one of her new songs. The crowd is unimpressed…. bar one person.
Dan (Ruffalo) is a down on his luck, recently divorced Indie label co-owner who has just been ousted from his own business. As the opening scenes are shot from 2 perspectives, we see that when Dan listens to Gretta, he doesnt see a shaky singer strumming a guitar and crackling out her song about being lonely, he sees the finished, perfectly arranged final product. And that is Dan’s gift ….. or burden depending on which side of the company cheque book you view from.
Dan takes the initially reluctant Gretta and her songs and turns them into the music they both want to hear. They come up with the idea of recording an album in the streets of New York City, a tribute to both independence and the city itself. It is a leap of faith for both and this journey will prove to be the catalyst they both need to move forward with their lives.
As they embark on this new adventure, Dan is trying to re-establish a relationship with his teenage daughter Violet (Steinfield) who is crying out for her father’s attention and Dave creeps back into Gretta’s life. They are distractions that will ultimately prove pivotal to the music.
Knightley usually annoys me but here she is the perfect mix of broken-hearted yet gutsy song-writer who will make her music her way, thank you very much. Her lip synching sucked but I overlooked that because she gave such a warm, charming performance. Loved her!
Levine doesnt do a bad job either in his debut movie role, even though he is basically playing himself. He gave Dave some heart which was a surprise considering Dave is a stereotypical wanker. And Levine worked for free which, although he is in a position to do so, is still commendable. He chose a great little indie with some great actors and a great script. If he keeps making solid choices like this, he may find himself with a tidy little acting career as well. Kudos Mr Levine
As for Ruffalo, he’s my actor sweetheart and I adore him in anything. He is, as always, perfect. He illuminates the screen in these smaller movies and I hope he never strays too far away from them because it would just break my heart.
Overall, a great movie. Solid script, great music and great performances all round. And all this with an ending I did not expect ….. yet was entirely superior to the ending I thought I wanted. Loved every minute of this feel good movie and if this was a real album, I would buy it. I-Tunes here I come again.
Love Flick xx
Director : John Carney
Starring : Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, James Corden, Hailee Steinfeld, Mos Def, Karen Pittman, Catherine Keener
Running Time : 104 minutes
Release Date : 14 August 2014