I enjoyed this breezy and reflective film.
With Yasiin Bey and Adam Levine, who play independent record label executive Saul and independent artist Dave Kohl respectively, it is interesting to see them in their roles because they both musical artists. For Yasiin, this role seems to be a departure for him as an actor. Cee-Lo has a small role in the film as a popular rapper discovered by Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a down and out record executive.
Mark Ruffalo plays Dan with bohemian perfection. Keira Knightley plays Gretta, a singer-songwriter, emotionally and captivatingly. Adam Levine plays his role well but his facial hair does more acting than he does. If you watch the film, you will understand what I mean. Catherine Keener plays Miriam, Dan’s estranged wife. She is always a delight. James Corden, who I had yet to before in a film, was humorous and delightful as musician and Gretta’s friend, Steve. Hailee Steinfeld who plays Dan’s daughter Violet was unique and a great part of the ensemble.
The scenic locations where Gretta and her band create music are true to the roots of New York City. This film really could have only been made in NYC with the scenery, sounds and people. Writer & director John Carney (“Once”) gives breath to a story where the music industry is reflective to now. Artists are pumping out commercial garbage that sound alike. Also, digital music is a part of the future in how albums are promoted and given from artist to fan. There is original music with soulful lyrics in this film, which contrasts to the music Dan gets for discovering the “next big thing” until he listens to Gretta.