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The Swell Season

The Swell Season (2011)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 574

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Movie Info

In 2008, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová captivated audiences and earned two Academy Awards for their musical collaboration in the film Once. As their fictional romance blurred with reality, they fell in love, recorded an album, and embarked on a world tour. Fueled by two years of exhilaration, performance, and psychological turmoil, The Swell Season is much more than a music documentary. It is a volatile and intimate portrait of a romance that fractures in the face of life on the road and

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All Critics (30) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (7)

The Swell Season wins the documentary prize for beating viewers over the head with gentleness, with the duo accentuated in rich, photographic chiaroscuro.

January 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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A poignant documentary that tracks the fast rise and slow fall of the Hansard-Irglova fairy tale, through both tunes and tears.

January 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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For Once lovers who needed a "what happened next?" epilogue, this one moves even as it chastises.

December 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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An emotional erosion captured by the trio in decidedly unromantic black-and-white.

December 1, 2011 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Overall the film seems like a collection of bits and pieces, and it's hard to see how it could have much resonance for non-fans.

November 25, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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A documentary that is every bit as intimate and disarming as the movie that made them famous...

November 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While the film may be monochrome, every colour of emotion is represented here, from elation in the creative process to anxiousness and disillusionment.

February 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

The intimacy that results is candid and simple as the movie that, for good and ill, put them both center-stage in the first place.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A modest, mostly engaging behind-the-scenes documentary that nevertheless winds up feeling somehow incomplete.

October 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Television Without Pity
Television Without Pity

A sadly and tenderly honest portrait of a storybook romance lost.

October 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune

The connection between Hansard and Irglová is the heart of The Swell Season, and it's one that could use more backstory.

October 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Movieline

A documentary about the emotional upheavals of the Oscar-winning stars of Once during their world tour.

October 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It's too focused on capturing a bygone moment and portraying it as the present, while the band and the couple have inevitably moved on, to a new album, a high-profile suicide at one of their concerts, a band hiatus, and well beyond.

October 6, 2011 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Audience Reviews for The Swell Season

"The Swell Season" is a documentary that follows Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova in the wake of the success with the movie 'Once,' as they undergo the ordeals of going on tour in America via bus. That having been said, things start off well enough with some fun as they go for a little frolicsome skinnydipping.

Away from the music, the documentary seeks to fill in their respective backstories. But as far as Irglova goes, the interest is only in how old she is. However, Hansard's father lost his chance to go to America for a boxing tournament due to teenage pregnancy, turning to alcohol as a result.(How's that for a guilt trip?) For Hansard, it is music and nothing else, as he goes from touring with a band to getting phone calls from Bono to having his car towed away on a not-so-special episode of 'Parenthood.'

In general, "The Swell Season" is interested in fame, and how it simultaneously opens some doors while closing others, its ambiguous tone emphasized by its black and white cinematography.(But how could you tell things would have not turned out the same?) And as incisive as the documentary can be, it also does the same thing as the fans who show up to get autographs, emphasizing the Oscars over the music which is more important. That having been said, the little knit cap for the statuette is really cute.
February 6, 2014
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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