Once (2007)

This stunning little gem of a movie slipped under the radar last year – I am astonished I didn’t hear of it. On a whim – solely engendered by the fact it won the Sundance Festival’s Audience Award – I watched this and was pleased that I did so. It is an unpretentious, simple story about a busker in Dublin who meets a girl – a Czech – who is also a musician. Together they explore a relationship through writing songs and making music together. What ties the movie together is the music – it was all written and performed by the two leads, both of them musicians and not actors. This is in some sense a musical, as the story of the relationship is illustrated by the songs. The chemistry between the two leads is palpable – as one would expect from two people who collaborate musically in real life. It was a stroke of genius on director John Carney’s part to realise that this shouldn’t be played by an actor who was half a real musician, but by a real musician who was half an actor. The emphatic musical performances by Glen Hansard overshadow any weaknesses in his acting. There are numerous heartbreaking moments in the movie. The scene where the Guy and the Girl (they remain nameless throughout) play together for the first time is moving, and gives us an insight into a musical partnership in a way that I have never seen portrayed before. A must see for fans of music and the creative process. The soundtrack is also stunning – both leads play in Irish band The Frames – especially the song that won them an Oscar.


~ by Doug Newdick on April 27, 2008.

One Response to “Once (2007)”

  1. I agree, it’s a great film. Being a busker myself I thought the movie was genuing. The scene where the busker runs after a guy who stole money from his bag rang very true – I had that happen to me, too, and it ended the same way as in the movie. From there on the movie kept growing on me as it went on.

    All the best,

    Saw Lady

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