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Yes, No, Maybe So: Begin Again

Can a Song Save Your Life? The Weinstein Company doesn't think so, since they've changed the title of that music industry Mark Ruffalo/Keira Knightley film. It would like to be known as Begin Again before it actually faces the fickle public. Presumably due to the widespread industry belief (it's not just TWC) that the more generic the title, the more likely it is to appeal to multiple quadrants. Why anyone interested in a dramedy about the music industry would object to the earlier title who can say without degrees in P&A?

Yes No Maybe So breakdown after the jump


  • Starting with shots of Mark Ruffalo all hairy and bedhead cute is not in any way a deterrent
  • From the director of Once. Yes, please (not that Zonad was any good but you can't win them all)
  • The word "cute" might come up a lot in the clips sampled here but there's room for those movies, too. Or at least there should be.
  • Even if all the music is diegetic it's still a musical if people are constantly singing so "yes"
  • Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Cee-Lo and James Corden - sure!
  • Is Hailee Steinfeld playing Ruffalo's daughter here because that seems like exceptionally good if unexpected familial casting
  • Love the idea of an album where each song is recorded organically and in a different location without studio expense. Too many records are over-produced. Literally while I was typing that sentence I just flashed back to Björk's "There's More To Life Than This" and yeah yeah yeah I'm sure there are more contemporary examples than a 21 year old song but I cannot tell you how thrilling I found that moment in the song where she suddenly moves into a different room and you can hear the sound change. The first time I heard that record it was goosebumps and still is.


  • Listen. There are a lot of talented graphic artists in the world and a lot of Photoshop experts so why is it that every movie, be it within advertisements like posters or within the actual movie when you see photographs of the cast before the movie took place or interior logic stuff like magazine covers looks cheap and rushed amateur work? It's also worth noting that Mark Ruffalo and Mos Def are both BEING PAID TO ACT IN THIS MOVIE so, Jesus, just make them do a photoshoot on set with a professional celebrity photographer and use that for the fake magazine cover and various advertisements and kill all the birds with one stone. Ugh (times every time - it's not just this movie) 
  • It's hard to come up with "no"s here but the film looks utterly innocuous. Like the kind of movie you might forget you even saw by the time you've digested your popcorn 


  • The Cast: The jury is still out on Hailee Steinfeld (no, I didn't think she was nomination-worthy in True Grit (merely fine) and I've heard she was terrible in Romeo and Juliet; I don't know how to say this without sounding disloyal but Catherine Keener has been so boring lately onscreen and she used to be such a blast; I don't know how to say this without sounding disloyal but Mark Ruffalo's gift seems to be coarsening as of late - he was way over the top in Infinitely Polar Bear (reviewed at Sundance) and looks like he might be in that mode again; Adam Levine and other music industry professionals because stunt casting can result in really uneven performances
  • Is the music good? Because if it's not better than okay that will be a problem.
  • Does Keira do her own singing? (If so disregard this bullet point). Her voice seems to change a lot from speaking to singing and I'm not okay with people not doing their own singing!

The Trailer Itself...

Are you a Yes, No or Maybe So? 

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Reader Comments (19)

I"m Maybe So--No. The script seems to be a rehash of already filmed mediocre material but I'll hold out a bit of hope that this is just an interns bad attempt at putting a trailer together that was released by mistake.

Why do the marketing departments of the studios never seem to trust the film itself to appeal to audiences anymore? What I get from this is a Rom-Com with music people as the subject, lots of pictures of music being recorded, but very little actual music being heard. If you are going to put Adam Levine and Ce-Lo Green in a film about music, don't you think the marketing hook should include shots/sounds of them performing? Keira is the only one and that song is boring and I agree, it doesn't sound like her.

Its like Snakes on a Plane without snakes or the fear of snakes.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Oh, Debut. Such a revelation, and I still add that song to party playlists from time to time. "i could bring my little ghettoblaster"

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I'm a MAYBE SO to YES. Never saw Once but this looks like it could be decent-ish. The original title was much better, though. You know because it actually related to the movie and wasn't something that could be put on anything.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

It's hard to say no to Ruffalo and Knightley, so I won't bother. I'm a yes.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

i've read in multiple outlets that keira does her own singing. I think it was also her own voice in "The Edge of Love"

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

"It's hard to say no to Ruffalo and Knightley, so I won't bother. I'm a yes."

Pretty much my thought.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

She definitely does her own singing. She sang in that movie The Edge of Love a while back :)

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBhuray

You had me at "the director of Once." Yes.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

Saw the film at a test screening last month and it's really such a treat. Music's AMAZING, and that soundtrack is gonna be beyond H-U-G-E. Could very well pull a "Cups"/Pitch Perfect in the summer months.

Also, yes: Keira does indeed do her own singing!

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMKR

Saw it in Toronto and it's lovely. The music is pretty great, Knightley better than lately, and Steinfeld als Ruffalo's daughter is indeed great casting. Even Adam Levine didn't bother and I can't stand him usually...

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Yes. I like Keira. I like Mark. I loved ONCE. I hate TWC and their ridiculous cuts and name changes. I'm very weary of changing artistic expression for the sake of marketing campaigns. And I especially resent things being dumbed down for "American" audiences.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I love Keira and Mark, but won't be watching as I cannot stand James Corden. It's a British thing.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

NO: From the director of "Once".
NO: Keira Knightley.
NO: Catherine Keener.
NO: Mark Ruffalo after "You can count on me".

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

I am such a HUGE Yes. The reviews out of Toronto were (if I remember correctly) positive, but less so than for Once, which... I'm pretty sure EVERYTHING pales in comparison to Once, so that's to be expected. But I adore this cast, the premise sounds good, the music sounds good (and is probably better than this trailer would have us believe), and I've been dying to see it for over a year. The trailer seems quite a bit more comedic than I would have expected, but that's not a huge deterrent. Bring it on, I say - boring new title or no!

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I'm a zzzzz because of the very Hollywood age difference. C'mon now.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJake D

Levine is six years older than Knightley. By movie standards that's nothing.

... or are you referring to the fact the Keener is a bit older than Ruffalo? Surely that shouldn't be a problem.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVoR

I was a Maybe after reading this post but after watching the trailer I'm a yes. I get that Ruffalo doesn't always get the best projects for his talent but I'm kinda loving how willing he is to look like a hot mess in this film. There's just no vanity there and I don't see a lot of overplaying, just an engaged actor having fun.

But that name change - ugh. Why are they trying to make the film LESS memorable?

Also, I get that Adam Levine has movie-star looks and is a musician so he's probably fine here, but there really are a lot of talented, good-looking actors out there who play instruments and could use the job. I'd rather see a real actor here than a musician exploring what's probably going to be a very temporary hobby.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

It's hard to say no to Ruffalo and Knightley, so I won't bother. I'm a yes.


March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I wasn't a fan of ONCE, but Knightley gets me into pretty much any theatre.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

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