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As I Lay Dying
The Swell Season wins the documentary prize for beating viewers over the head with gentleness, with the duo accentuated in rich, photographic chiaroscuro.
| Original Score: 3/4
A poignant documentary that tracks the fast rise and slow fall of the Hansard-Irglova fairy tale, through both tunes and tears.
For Once lovers who needed a "what happened next?" epilogue, this one moves even as it chastises.
An emotional erosion captured by the trio in decidedly unromantic black-and-white.
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.
| Original Score: 2/4
A documentary that is every bit as intimate and disarming as the movie that made them famous...
Like any home movie, "The Swell Season" is uneven, but it's full of vivid moments between two painfully honest, likable people, learning some hard truths about fame and love.
Like "Once," this film is a tender little piece of heartbreak.
[A] disarming and intimate documentary...
| Original Score: 3/5
What emerges is a poignant commentary on the uneasy commingling of love and fame.
If you can trick yourself into a state of amnesia, this double profile might resonate with you.
To viewers without a preexisting emotional relationship to the couple and their saga, that everyday angst is just banal.
It's an accomplished piece of filmmaking from the trio, who are making their feature-length documentary debut.
| Original Score: 4/5
Swell never really gathers momentum, remaining a collection of moments, some more privileged than others.
Sensitive doc manages to show Once duo as both blissed-out lovers and post-romance partners without overdramatizing the transition.