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Begin Again [2014] [R] - 4.3.9



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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A woman (Keira Knightley) and her live-in boyfriend (Adam Levine) write songs. When they move to New York City for his album deal with a leading record label, he abandons her for another woman and corporate-guided success. Heartbroken, she considers fleeing to England, but a recording executive emerging from tough times (Mark Ruffalo) discovers her performing in a club and helps her record her own first album. Also with Catherine Keener, Hailee Steinfeld and James Corden. Directed by John Carney. [1:41]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A man stands in his estranged wife's bathroom and removes his slacks, revealing his thighs and briefs; he pokes his head around the door and calls out jokingly, "Hellooooo, you can keep [F-word deleted] my wife," then pulls back into the bathroom off-screen and asks his wife if she likes what she sees, to which she chuckles and walks out.
 A clothed man and a clothed woman fall onto a large bed and kiss briefly before falling asleep (no sex is suggested). A man and a woman kiss and they both say, "I love you." A man and woman sit on a bench along a busy street, hugging as they listen to a CD player. A man and a woman dance briefly in a crowded, loud dance club.
 A few women wear short-shorts that reveal most of their bare legs with tops that reveal some cleavage. A few men wear shorts. In a swimming pool, two men stand with water up to their upper chests, revealing shoulders and arms (one man has tattooed designs across his shoulders). At a party and in a club, some women wear dresses that reveal a little cleavage. A man in bed and under covers reveals his bare upper chest, shoulders and arms; getting up from bed, he reveals his bared chest and back along with biker shorts and legs to the thigh.
 We hear that a man's wife began an affair with a recording artist and the wife and artist plan to leave their spouses and live together; the first man had a nervous breakdown and his wife left him alone with their daughter. A man returns from a trip to Los Angeles and admits to his girlfriend to an affair with another woman, she slaps him in the face and moves in with a friend that night; months later, he insists on seeing her, asking for forgiveness. A teen girl jokingly says that she spent her allowance on condoms and at home, and her mother tells her estranged husband that older boys want to have sex with their daughter; he asks if she has a pimp and receives no reply. A woman tells a teen girl that she can still dress sexy and leave something to the imagination and she tells the girl she looks "[F-word deleted] easy"; the girl is shown wearing shorts that reveal full bare legs to the thigh with a midriff-cut top that bares her shoulders, arms, abdomen and some cleavage. A man points to a photo of another man holding a guitar upright and near his hip, joking that the man in the picture wants people to think that his penis is the size of the guitar. A man on a CD sings, "I love to see half-naked women."

VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - A man and his teen daughter in a bar-café discover that they have no money and run out without paying; a large man chases them and punches the man in the nose (no blood is shown) as the girl cries.
 A woman listens to her boyfriend's new song while staring intently at him as he looks at the floor, and then slaps him in the face; he breaks a glass of wine when he throws it against a wall, glass shattering loudly and wine spraying into a sink, then admits the song is for another woman and the first woman moves out immediately. A frustrated man bangs his head on his steering wheel and pounds the steering wheel with his hands in three scenes.
 A record producer and his business partner at a record label the first man founded, argue about types of music and music marketing and the partner fires the first man from his own company and shouts at him to stay away from the staff; the first man shouts that the paintings on the wall are his and attempts to take one, but it falls on his head (he is not injured). On a rooftop at night during a recording session, a neighbor yells out his window to stop the music. A man and a woman argue loudly about their spouses/partners and how each partner left the man or the woman. A woman and a man have a disagreement about relationships and becoming a corporate sell out, while sitting on a park bench and she rises and walks away; that night, she listens to him sing in a club and when he attempts to have her walk onstage to play guitar, she walks out tearfully.
 Police sirens sound in the background of songs recorded outdoors in New York City. On a subway platform, police officers chase a performing band away. In the background of a night scene, an unrelated man walks away in handcuffs with two police officers.
 A frustrated man sits on a park bench and cries and that night, a woman tells him that he looks like a homeless man and he says that he was ready to kill himself, until he heard her sing. A woman says, "I will kill you" to a man who says that he will pull her into a swimming pool.

PROFANITY 9 - About 45 F-words or derivatives, 21 scatological terms, 7 anatomical terms, 2 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, loser, pathetic, fool, fractured, selfish, mess, retarded, Tomboy, Brother Saul), stereotypical references to men, women, teenagers, parents, pop stars, groupies, ballad writers, record producers, CEOs, alcoholics, 2 religious profanities (GD), 8 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, God, God Knows, Have a Talk with God, Don't Talk to God). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man enters a building and says that the neighborhood "used to be all hookers and crack." Several bar scenes feature men and women at the bar drinking cocktails and glasses of whiskey and bourbon while other men and women at nearby tables drink cocktails as well as wine and beer, a man and a woman drink wine and the man breaks his filled glass against a wall (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a man and a woman drink whisky in a home, a man drinks alcohol from a flask while sitting in his parked car and while standing on a sidewalk in a few scenes, a teen girl says that she smells alcohol in his car as they ride home (he denies it) and they stop at a bar and leave without paying (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a man at a party where liquor and wine bottles are shown on many side tables refuses a drink and says that he is trying to stop using alcohol, a man says that he could only imagine musical arrangements when he was drunk, several men and women drink champagne at a party and people dance with drinks in their hands, a man drinks a large cup of Saki before recording a song, empty beer bottles litter a table in a recording studio, and a man swallows from a flask of alcohol and pops pills or breath mints into his mouth (it is unclear which they are). A man smokes a cigarette or thin cigar in two dozen scenes (at home, on a sidewalk, in a recording studio, outside a school, on a rooftop, in an alley around playing children and while driving), and a woman smokes a cigarette at home and he takes it and smokes it as he leaves the house (it is unclear whether the cigarette is tobacco or marijuana).

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Relationships, love, fidelity, family, loyalty, parents, men, women, second chances, working in music, music corporations, corporate sell outs, one's life's work or calling.

MESSAGE - Music can save your life.

Special Keywords: S4 - V3 - P9 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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