Keira Knightley returns to the big screen with Begin Again.

In this romantic comedy film, Keira stars as Gretta, a songwriter who is partners and in a relationship with college sweetheart Dave (Adam Levine, Maroon5). After Dave was picked up by a major label and goes to New York, their relationship deteriorated due to his new found fame. Loveless and dejected, things took a turn for the better with Gretta when she meets Dan (Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right), a record executive scorned by his label, while she was performing on the street. The encounter triggered a music collaboration that forges an indelible mark in both their lives.

Begin Again is directed by John Carney, responsible for 2007’s critically acclaimed Once. Due to the similar nature seen in both of Carney’s films, which is about two people finding each other through music, it is normal to compare them side by side. However, despite the uplifting message and charming appeal of Begin Again, it feels like it merely uses the template established by its much superior predecessor.

Critic Bruce Ingram from Chicago Sun-Times argues that, “You can’t really blame writer-director John Carney for trying, but despite a few very nice moments, this bigger, slicker follow-up mostly argues that Once should have been enough.”

However, taking the film in its own merits, Begin Again soars and shines.

“Begin Again has an abiding belief in the power of music to change live,” accord to Peter Howell of the Toronto Star. “There’s something exciting about that, even if it isn’t the most original of thoughts and even if we don’t believe, as they do, that Gretta and Dan will record the Great American Album on the streets of New York.”

Keira was asked to sing for Gretta’s songs in the film. According to Christy Lemire, Keira does an admirable job. “She has a soft and lilting voice that suits the material, which has a bit of a Colbie-Caillat tinge to it,” she says. “It would have been distracting if she’d opened her mouth and Adele came out.”