Critics Consensus

A charming, captivating tale of love and music, Once sets the standard for the modern musical. And with Dublin as its backdrop, Once is fun and fresh.



Total Count: 157


Audience Score

User Ratings: 190,976
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Movie Info

"Once" is a modern-day musical set on the streets of Dublin. Featuring Glen Hansard and his Irish band The Frames, "Once" tells the story of a street musician and a Czech immigrant during an eventful week as they write, rehearse and record songs that reveal their unique love story.

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Bill Hodnett
as Guy's Dad
Danuse Ktrestova
as Girl's Mother
Gerard Hendrick
as Lead Guitarist
Darren Healy
as Heroin Addict
Marcella Plunkett
as Ex-Girlfriend
Paul Clarke
as Shop Assistant
Maire Walsh
as Lady on Bus
Witold Owski
as Man Watching TV
Hugh Walsh
as Timmy Drummer
Tomek Glowacki
as Man Watching TV
Sean Millar
as Bank Manager
Attila Kouvacs
as Man Watching TV
Pete Short
as Singer at Party
Bob Hoban
as Shop Assistant at Bogarts
Dave Cleary
as Host at Party
as Hari Krishna
Keith Byrne
as Guy in Piano Shop
Krzysztos Tlotka
as Man Watching TV
Senan Haugh
as Husband
Catherine Hansard
as Singer at Party
Fergus O'Farrell
as Singer at Party
Martina Akindojctimi
as Person On Stoop
Ruslan Mannanu
as Person On Stoop
Francis Usanga
as Person On Stoop
Price Tylot Khumaho
as Person On Stoop
Joe Adebe
as Person On Stoop
Bernard Gibsenen
as Shop Assistant
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Critic Reviews for Once

All Critics (157) | Top Critics (47)

Audience Reviews for Once

  • May 22, 2016
    The music alone carries this film. The two leads have amazing chemistry and are natural fits for their roles (both are musicians). It isn't a cut-paste romance, either; the movie takes twists and turns along the way with major payoff. If you love music movies, this is a must-see.
    Ben B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 05, 2015
    Once is a film I do not have the heart to downrate because at least the male lead is making an effort. But overall, it comes off as amateur and I am not feeling the vibe of the film. The scenario is like Lost in Translation but there is no chemistry and if there is no chemistry, what does it matter what happens? Still, it is an OK film, short, and not difficult to get through.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 15, 2014
    Achingly beautiful, truthful, and youthful from the first note, Once truly earns a vaulted spot among this generation's greatest musicals. Sure, there's the rough hewn almost DIY style utilized in delivering the film's simple but powerful story. It's this down and dirty independent feel, however, that makes this tuneful tale so damn effective. How else do you frame a street busker's journey from the dusty, tourist-filled curbs of Dublin to...well, a fulfilling passion? Notice the word choice. Once's modern romance often flirts with heartbreak but the do-or-die vigor carries quite a tune. And thankfully, the tunes comprise one of the loveliest soundtracks ever. Writer/director John Carney presents this R-rated musical about a busker (Glen Hansard) and an immigrant (Marketa Irglova), who spend a fateful week collaborating on an album that tells their love story. Before filming ever began, actor/musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova were already romantic collaborators. This makes sense given the palpable affection that they give off in each scene. Their heartfelt songbook echoes this sentiment tenfold. "Falling Slowly" deserved its Oscar win for Best Song. Likewise, "If You Want Me," "When Your Mind's Made Up," "Lies," "Leave," and "Fallen from the Sky" also deserve such a prize which is why this rightly lauded flick got adapted into a Broadway musical. On screens big and small, however, the material and music pulses with naturalism thanks to writer/director John Carney's vision and obvious love for perfect chords. Bottom line: All the Right Notes
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 24, 2013
    This Irish drama about musicians written and directed by John Carney was a pleasant viewing and listening. This naturalistic movie, set in Dublin, Ireland, stars musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. What a treat! Collaborators prior to making the film performing under the stage moniker The Swell Season, Hansard and Irglová composed and performed all of the original songs in the film! Amazingly different, this film will show love scenes with no sex, song lyrics instead of a narration, musicians with everyday problems and families, not drug abusers without morals... or chasers of fame and fortune. Shot for only 130,000 (US$160,000), the film was delightful to watch, and it received enthusiastic awards such as the 2007 Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film. Hansard and Irglová's song "Falling Slowly" won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song and the soundtrack as a whole also received a Grammy Award nomination. Once spent years in development with the Irish Film Board. It was during a period where the film board had no chief executive (for about 6 months) that the film was given the go-ahead by a lower level executive on the proviso that the producers could make it on a budget of approximately 150,000 and not the initial higher budget. They made it and I am glad they did... because I enjoyed it. Every bit of the story about Guy (Glen Hansard) and Girl (Markéta Irglová) was so realistic that I almost thought that I am watching some reality show about two musicians, but at the same time I could feel close to them, thanks to the wonderfully developed screenplay. My surprise was that neither of the two leads is a trained or experienced actor - Hansard and Irglová are both professional musicians. Director Carney, former bassist for Hansard's band The Frames, had asked his long-time friend to share busker anecdotes and compose songs for the film, but had intended the male lead to be played by actor Cillian Murphy. He was an almost-signed rock musician before turning to acting. Murphy thought that he was too good in acting and declined the prospect of acting opposite non-actor Irglová (then 17 years old) but felt that he is not as good in singing to belt out Hansard's octave-leaping songs, so he pulled out, as did the film's other producers along with their financial resources. Hansard, who'd previously done only one acting job, was the next choice. He was initially reluctant, fearing that he wouldn't be able to pull it off, but after stipulating that he had to be fully involved in the filmmaking process and that it be low-budget and intimate, he agreed. That's how we got an intimate, family movie with love and wonderful songs...
    Panta O Super Reviewer

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