Once

Once

97%

Opening

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Once Reviews

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KJ P

Super Reviewer

September 25, 2010
John Carny knows how to direct performances and incorporate music very well, because every single scene throughout this film feels true and natural. The shaky camera in almost every scene was odd at first, but you become so used to it that it feels like it is a part of their unbalanced lives. I feel like there are so many hidden messages throughout this film that I feel the need to watch it again to find them all. The two leads are fantastic and I really bought their connection. "Once" is a very well-written romance film that is not really like your average Hollywood tale, which is why I loved watching it so much. I do not love many romance films, simply because I find it hard to believe the connection most of the time, so a film really needs to impress me with it's chemistry and dialogue. This film delivers performances and dialogue better than almost any romance I have seen in a long time. It felt very "Before Sunrise-ish" to me, and that is what sold me. "Once" is a very well put together film, the musical aspects are great and the atmosphere is vibrant. Loved every minute.
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

August 3, 2010
The original twisted musical, "Once" is full of simple beauty, small, quiet scenes, and some very inspiring music. Technically this is a musical because the characters are expressing their emotions through the medium of song. It doesn't have any of the grandeur of original movie musical. All of the songs are original, written by stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. They both play musically talented people, on guitar and piano, who bond over their love of his music. They talk mostly about music, but as Glen or "The Busker" realizes his obvious attraction and eventual love for her, they find that there are obstacles to them being together. Marketa or "The Girl" is a character that is very forthcoming, who is interesting, sweet, and intelligent, and yet she is stuck in a life as a recent immigrant and single mother. Glen, in contrast, is living off the tips he gets from playing guitar in the street, and his work at his father's vacuum cleaner repairing business. They complement each other so easily, and as the songs become more and more about the two of them and less about Glen's former girlfriend, we feel the true love between these two characters. Glen is still hung up on that former girlfriend at first, but when he falls for Marketa, it's hard and difficult and so painfully adorable. He is the definition of a lovesick puppy, and Marketa is nearly oblivious to their rendezvous and shared experiences. In the end, it's painfully clear that Marketa does love Glen, but the burden of her difficult life, and her own fear at what could be, comes between them and ultimately makes for a heartbreaking and frankly tear inducing ending. It was just so understated, so lovingly determined to show love in its earliest stages, and how two people can understand so much about music, but nothing about their own desires.
Spencer M

Super Reviewer

September 30, 2012
the music is great
Sam B

Super Reviewer

January 8, 2012
An intensely organic musical that will appeal more to musicians, Once lets viewers feel the passion of the two main characters through their musical performances, which unfold as a natural process of the story, unlike most musicals. Despite not being trained actors, both Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova give likable performances, though Hansard is clearly more skilled. While the narrative itself is pretty basic and many of the scenes are akin to bland montages, as a whole the film is a beautiful narrative video album - and a good album at that. The music itself is highly recommended.
Jon L

Super Reviewer

December 31, 2007
I had really high expectations and hopes for this film, but after watching it, I really hate to say it was one of the most boring films I have ever seen. Looking at it as a "video album" it's not bad and the music is sensational, but as a narrative film it didn't give me any connection to the characters. It's a slice of life out of the characters' lives. Hitchcock said films are "Life with all the boring parts taken out." Well without trying to sound condescending, this was the opposite. On a lighter note, the music is wonderful, but I would have much rather listened to the soundtrack than the film.
Alice S

Super Reviewer

December 31, 2011
Twenty minutes into the movie, I thought, "Aww everything everyone said about this movie pre-Oscar season 2008 is truuuueee!" Quirky opening scene and meet-cute. Sweet and likable main characters. Moving music. After that though, the movie devolves into long and amateur YouTube videos, showcasing very good songs, albeit in very staid ways in terms of mise-en-scene.

Glen Hansard is like John Mayer's manic older brother, and I mean that in a good way. Marketa Irglova has a lovely face and singing voice, but methinks the language barrier tripped her up. The character is written to say "fuck" too much, and Irglova doesn't sell each swear. I remember the pair's Oscar win debacle when the orchestra started playing before Irglova could give her thanks. I was sad to hear they called it quits after the movie :~(
hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

October 27, 2011
A guitarist and a piano player form a musical partnership that eventually compels him to reform his life.
The story and to some degree the method of telling this story are both interesting, but it is so over-loaded with music that the characters' arcs took a backseat to yet another indie rock number. Also, there is a lot left unexplained. What is the back-story surrounding the girl and her husband? What about the Busker's girlfriend? Why does she resist a relationship, especially considering the same obstacles present themselves no matter whom she ends up with? These character questions aren't tangential to the plot, and the audience deserves some kind of explanation, but instead we get more musical numbers. These songs are good, and I'm even mildly interested in the soundtrack, but good, soulful, well-written music does not make a whole film.
murphmann93
murphmann93

Super Reviewer

June 23, 2011
Walked out half way through. Truly awful! The acting was terrible. Really bad.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

June 29, 2007
It really helps with this film, if you are passionate about music and singer songwriters to apprecieate the depth of feeling that went into making this film.

The brilliantly talented stars of the film are musicians turned Actors, but did equally as well in their natural performances throughout the film.

The friendship connection here is electrical and the voices and instruments together, make for a great movie soundtrack (I know I've bought Soundtrack and DVD since watching this).

What's probably perfection about this piece is the pure simplicity of the storyline, which highlights the interaction between the cast members.

So impressed with this film, this is one I will be watching over and over and a day hasn't gone by since, that I haven't listed to Falling Slowly.
cosmo313
cosmo313

Super Reviewer

August 9, 2010
I'd give this 4.25 if I could. It gets a letter grade of something arounf the B+ to A- range. I really liked it, but at the same time, had a hard time sitting down to watch it. Guess I was just too tired and worn out from watching Lawrence of Arabia earlier in the day.

This is a nice and sweet little film, but it's not for all tastes. If you like low-budget, independet, plot-light documentary style musicals shot on DV, then you'll absolutely love this. For everyone else,well, it's hit or miss. It is a musical, but the music is absolutely wonderful, and it helps that the two leads are actual musicians and recording partners. If you don't like musicals, I would avoid this, because much of the movie is verite stuff without people sitting around making music.

The performances are quite good and very naturalistic. They fit the style and concept of the film well. For artistically inclined romantics, you'll probably be able to relate to this. The direction is very free and loose, yet has control without it being too noticeable, if that makes any sense .

I don't know if I'd watch this one too often, but I can't see myself not seeing it again.
Jeremy S

Super Reviewer

July 8, 2007
A little music film that moves emotional mountains. Once is diamond in the ruff. Amateurishly filmed, it looks as if it was shot by someone with a handheld camera (I guess anyone can make a movie these days) a painfully obvious small to no existent budget, with actors that seems as though they were taken from the streets of Dublin, and an even smaller production quality, Once is not slick, not spectacular and definitely not your average Hollywood music film and yet it is a truly moving film. At the heart of Once is it?s soulful music, better than most of the rubbish on the radio or on the pop charts, the music comes from the soul and brings the film to life. The music acts as dialogue saying more than the ordinary conversation ever could, and offers the audience a poetic look at the inner most feelings of the characters. A modern day romantic fairytale set in the ordinary spoken world and in the spiritual sung world, alternating between the two. And yet the two worlds only really come together for a brief moment and then are pulled apart and there lies the sad truth. The realities of the world await the characters once the music writing, making and singing end. A beautiful film full of humanity Once is a gem. A film like Once only really comes around once in a while, so don?t miss it.
Jens S

Super Reviewer

December 9, 2007
This beautiful story of two musicians becoming friends (and more?) on the streets of Dublin is a little wonder of a film. Not only does it feel very fresh, natural and real, the movie doesn't even need a lot of words to make us feel for the two lovely main characters. The songs they sing do not feel out of place or forced into the scene, like in many other musicals, but as an important part. When they sing "Falling slowly" together for the first time in an instrument store it's impossible not to fall for this film. Of course it helps that the rest of the songs are just as wonderful. The sweet humor is another plus and so it feels those 95 minutes are over way too quickly, and we would have loved to follow those two around a little longer. Wonderful, touching, lovable.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

December 16, 2009
A truly special, magical, captivating love story with a beautiful soundtrack, this film is sweet, romantic, told in such a simple way, and it presents two adorable characters that never seem unreal.
neverteaseaweasel
neverteaseaweasel

Super Reviewer

November 23, 2009
This movie completely blew me away. Its simple and sweet, optimistic and charming. Personally, I love musicals and movies like this with lots of music in them; So, i was kind of hooked from the start. That is really all there is to it. Once is not complicated in any way. Its a bit like a Irish Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Idk, I absolutely loved and want to watch it again. soon.
Fernando Rafael Q

Super Reviewer

May 27, 2007
Simple and unconventional, ONCE's concept is very appealing, but it falls short of its goal: change the musical as we know it.

This very low-budget flick works fantastically as an "unplugged" special, but as a film, it feels like a not-so-interesting home movie.

All in all, ONCE is a nice little experiment by two musicians, with incredible songs, but not much apart from that.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

May 12, 2007
Way way way overrated. However, most of the songs are quite good. The actual film left much to be desired, but I can definitely see however how this film would appeal to the "want to be artist" or the "frustrated spouse" crowd.The message of the female characters (they didn't even bother to give her a name) journey seems to be that a biological partner is more important than a loving one. Why is it necessary in this film for two people not in relationships to go back to there unhappy/unhealthy ex's?
SilentWarProductions2009
August 22, 2007
Directed by: John Carney.
Starring: Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova.

<<"How come you don't play during daytime? I see you here everyday"..."During the daytime people would want to hear songs that they know, just songs that they recognize. I play these songs at night or I wouldn't make any money. People wouldn't listen"..."I listen.">>

The story, like a modern-day musical, is set in Dublin where 'Guy' is a busker who plays guitar on the streets to get his way through. When he meets a beautiful immigrant during a busy week, they soon find a connection between themselves through there music.

Wow...this film is bound to keep me breathless for some time. Not in such a long time have I seen a film so beautifully rich and pure in what it tries to bring forward in its story.

The films idea is simple enough, even to the point that the main characters names are simply Guy and Girl...but that's never the point of the film, what makes it work is everything else. Underneath the musical surface lies a simple story, a guy meets a girl and they share a connection through there passion for music.

Now without the music this would still have been a fine little film, with both leads having an incredible spark on screen together and the story touching nicely upon its well laid out characters, but what takes it up many levels is the music. Not in a long time have I felt touched by what has been played on screen.

Glen and Marketa's music is pure poetry, such thoughtful and rich lyrics and a beautiful tone to every song played, each verse and chorus adds a brilliant emotional core and meaning to the films themes, it nearly bought me to tears...and for Glen and Marketa's first acting roles, outside their brilliant performances with their music, they deliver perfectly.

An exquisite and rich story of the bonds between two people through there love for music. A beautiful love story without the clichés, Once is up there with the greatest films of 2007...and one of the best 'musicals' in years.

91/100

<< "What's the Czech for 'Do you love him'?" >>
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

January 3, 2008
Not quite as good as some people would have you believe, but still a nice movie and kind of sad too.
MovieMaster12
MovieMaster12

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2008
Once may be the greatest musical film in many years. It's not a musical in the way that Hairspray or Chicago are musicals. It's a film about how music touches our lives. It's about two strangers who are both completely driven by music and somehow they find each other and through their common love manage to better one anothers lives. It's truly a beautiful film that lets the music itself convey the narrative. Just the tone of the song or the way it's sung wonderfully displays emotions of all kind in the characters as well as in the viewer. The film was shot for little money in the streets of Dublin and feels more like a documentary of two struggling musicians than a scripted film. It's amazing that a film that's just under 90 minutes and made with just an insignificant fraction of the budget of most Hollywood films can have ten times the raw emotion and be far more involving than anything I've seen that year. It's a very simple extremely accessible, relative story that's so wonderfully complex in it's characterisation and emotion that I can't convey it's power.

It's a jem. And it proves that you don't need a Hollywood budget to create something incredibly moving and endearing. Those that don't like the music won't like the film nearly as much and I feel sorry for them because with the music telling the story this movies a deeply engaging experience. You don't watch this film as much as you feel it. If you feel this one as I did you won't soon forget it.
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