Music is integral to films. It is one of these facts that you do not always realise until you think about it. Take your favourite film and remove the music and it will be a completely different experience. It’s also true that movies have always depicted music in a variety of ways. Whether that be the ridiculousness of Spinal Tap or the freedom and enjoyment of Good Vibrations, music is a ripe subject area to be plucked and enjoyed.
Now recently I went to see Begin Again one of the more recent films to use music as one of its central story telling techniques. In this particular movie you see two people who have been hurt by the world around them, reconnect with it through a love of music. Strangely for a Hollywood movie starring people like Keira Knightley, this movie is brave enough to forego any romantic relationship. Instead depicting it’s central relationship as one of two friends both broken in their own ways, but both deeply in love with the idea and very nature of music.
Now I am obviously slightly biased in this situation. My own passion for music can be seen by clicking on links in this very site, if it is not my life it at the very least makes up a very large part of it. My wish to someday by paid for talking about, writing about and doing anything connected to the music that I love is well documented. So maybe it’s no surprise that this kind of movie personally touches me. I adored Begin Again, not because the music they played particularly inspired me, it was good but not my type of thing or even because the characters were particularly amazing, although it does now stand alongside Dr. Who as something that has managed to make James Corden bearable. No, I loved this film because to me it just got the very thing that makes me love music.
You see I feel Hollywood for all it’s issues, of which it has many, has always got the importance of music. Whether it be Rocky training to “Eye of the Tiger” or the more recent 12 Years a Slave, which uses music to depict incredibly powerful emotions, Hollywood has always got that music is important. That a song can define an era, change a mood or even change a life. It’s a cheesy and pretentious way to phrase but it is the truth and Begin Again is another example of that. Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightly’s characters save each other in many ways, but none of what they do would work without the music.
I’d love to claim that all of this is leading to some massively brilliant, beautiful conclusion that will change your life, but it’s really not. It’s the pretentious thoughts of me, after having spent half the day doing dissertation work and the last hour completing Shadow of the Colossus (which coincidentally is a game that totally gets music). The simple truth of it is all I am saying is that music matters and I think in the day to day world it is easy to forget that or dismiss it and I can’t help but feel we would all be a lot happier if we didn’t.