It’s been a while, I know.

John Carney, for those out of the loop, is a film director. About 7 years ago his film Once got recognition it deserved, winning an Oscar for Best Original Song when a live action princess musical was up for three songs in that category. Seriously, it must have felt awful for anyone involved in that film.

Anyways, having returned from my second viewing of Begin Again (as much as I love movies, it’s extremely rare for me to go to the theater twice), I realized that there are themes similar in both movies. There is the music of course. Which is wonderful singer-songwriter stuff. If you liked the mus in Once, which many of us did, you’ll enjoy the music in Begin Again.

There are hints of a love story between the two main characters, which there was in Once. In fact, the male lead even tells the female lead in Once to stay over, which was a dumb idea. But in Begin Again, one moves forward in their relationships while the other is able to reconnect.

But that is what John Carney stumbled upon.

We all have a soft spot for rom-coms where the two leads fall in love and are perfect for each other, if only for the 100 minutes of their lives we see. As much as we want to be above it and tell ourselves love doesn’t last, when you’re in that mindset and you see it, it just reinforces the idea. Maybe this will last. Maybe this is the one.

And, there is the other side. It’s a Hollywood ending and love is tough and you have to work for it. So there is the occasional film where the two main leads do not fall in love with each other. And the skeptics rejoice. It’s more realistic. The lesson is learned but the loves doesn’t last.

But what these two films have in common that very few other films do, is how doing something with your life can give you the strength to do what you have to. Getting that music down and having a final product gives people the strength to get past what’s holding them back. Have someone to get over? Write that poem to get over the person. Want to get someone back? Do the one thing you’ve wanted. Do the one thing you did when you two were in love.

It took me forever to realize this personally, but sitting around feeling sorry for yourself only makes things worse. Distracting yourself with a project gets you ahead. Not only are you doing something you’ve wanted, you’re showing passion for something.

And that’s what it boils down to. It isn’t a Hollywood ending. It isn’t how tough love is. It’s passion in your life. It’s having the courage to do what you want, and hopefully get what you want.