Once - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Once Reviews

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Hank Sartin
Time Out
November 18, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
So this is how you make a low-budget musical these days!
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Christopher Orr
The New Republic
September 18, 2008
In an era when Hollywood has largely lost the ability to distinguish between romance and sex, Once is the rare film that recognizes that love is no less love for being held in check, it is merely a different kind of love.
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Mark Bourne
Film.com
December 19, 2007
Once doesn't plop its emotions on its characters' sleeves, and it trusts us enough to leave some of the best stuff unstated. In other words, it trusts us to know that half the music lies between the notes.
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
August 9, 2007
Forget everything you think you know about the movie musical, one of the more predictable genres. With Once, writer-director John Carney deconstructs it and reinvents it as something wholly new, inspired and alive.
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
June 28, 2007
This lovely tale of a love affair between a Dublin street musician and a flower girl will leave you wistful for more. It's a movie to fall in love with and a movie to fall in love during. It is the most naturalistic musical ever.
| Original Score: 5/5
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
June 27, 2007
Don't miss Once. It has to be seen and heard to be believed and enjoyed.
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Stephen Garrett
Time Out
June 23, 2007
The real dialogue is the music, as the lovers communicate through lyrics. The filmmaking is unadorned, but the emotional virtuosity is rhapsodic.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/6
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
June 15, 2007
I can't imagine anyone seeing Once and not instantly falling in love with it.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
June 7, 2007
Are you looking for a little film you can make your own, an enchanting, unpretentious blend of music and romance you can watch forever? If you do, Once is about to come into your life and make it whole.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 7, 2007
Told with the simplicity of a Chaplin film (more than once I was reminded of City Lights), Once has the tentative and unpredictable amble of a chance encounter rather than the absolute and overdetermined structure of a Hollywood film.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
June 2, 2007
Given [director] Carney's roughshod methods, Once never resembles a standard studio offering, which works much to its benefit. Between Carney's unadorned writing and his rustic directing approach, Once always remains grounded in reality.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
June 1, 2007
Musicals ask us to take a happy leap of faith, to believe in a world in which people express their feelings by bursting into song. With Once, Carney has created that world within our own, and it weaves an irresistible spell.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
June 1, 2007
One of the movie's pleasures is that it keeps us asking what sort of love story will Once become?
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
May 31, 2007
The captivating Irish musical romance Once will warm all but the stoniest hearts.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
May 28, 2007
Stripped of just about all artifice and dazzle, shot on the cheap on city streets, this Sundance gem is wiser about artistic creation and the fickle ways of love than any song-and-dance spectacular you've recently encountered.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
May 25, 2007
Even the uninitiated will be hard-pressed to resist the movie's charms, from its likable leading players and its charming Dublin setting to its wistful take on modern love.
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Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
May 25, 2007
This indie musical is a bijou of a film that joins unaffected performances and a compelling soundtrack in a low-budget, documentary-style film that lets us watch two people fall in love to the mesmerizing soundtrack of the songs they create.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
May 25, 2007
Once proves once and for all that imagination trumps big bucks.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
May 25, 2007
Elegantly capturing the alchemy of songwriting -- not to mention the alchemy of fleeting romance -- it's a one-of-a-kind movie to enthrall musicians and listeners alike.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
May 25, 2007
Sweet but never cloying, simple without being simplistic, delicate yet not at all precious, this is a film guaranteed to set your toes to tapping even as it plays a number on your heartstrings.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
May 25, 2007
A sweet, raw blessing of a film.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
May 25, 2007
The most naturalistic and believable romantic musical you may ever see and hear.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Mary Houlihan
Chicago Sun-Times
May 25, 2007
[A] wonderful film that is one of the year's best.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
May 25, 2007
The songs don't advance the narrative lyrically so much as follow the two characters' uncertain relationship through the slow realization of their themes; in particular a scene in which they first jam together in the back room of a music store is a gem.
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
May 25, 2007
In its brief running time, writer-director John Carney does something both profound and unexpected: He reinvents the movie musical as a genre of swooning rock 'n' roll realism.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
May 24, 2007
For reasons they'll have to go to hell for someday, the Motion Picture Association of America ratings board gave Once an R, for a handful of swear words. Ignore that. And enjoy the film.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
May 21, 2007
Amazing music, great performances. This is really, truly a musical, in the best sense of the word.
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
May 18, 2007
Once isn't especially complex, but the chemistry between its appealing leads feels deeply true. You'd have to look awfully hard to find such sincerity in a Hollywood romance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
May 18, 2007
It takes all of 10 seconds for John Carney's Once to announce itself as something special.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
May 18, 2007
Once is a winning and engaging portrait of two people's powerful connection through music.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Nathan Rabin
AV Club
May 17, 2007
Imagine Belle And Sebastian remaking In The Mood For Love as a heartbreaking low-fi musical, and you have a fair approximation of the film's melancholy, unexpected genius.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
May 17, 2007
Cut through the Spidey-Shrek hype and seek it out. You won't be sorry. It's a magical, beguiling wonder.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
May 17, 2007
The film drags a bit and Irglova's inexperience as an actor sometimes leaves her costars in the lurch. But it's a sweet little film just the same.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
May 17, 2007
Everything about Once feels unforced and natural.
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
May 17, 2007
Once is one of those urban fairy tales you come out of not wanting to switch on your car radio, make small talk or do anything but shelter in its beguiling ambiance for as long as you can to avoid re-entering the real world.
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
May 17, 2007
So heartfelt and sparse, so quietly genuine with its dingy digital images -- so not Rent.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Gene Seymour
Newsday
May 17, 2007
No matter what your musical tastes, Once will reinforce your belief in the power of melody and harmony to heal one's inner wounds.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
May 16, 2007
The movie swoons, and you will too.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
May 16, 2007
Once makes a persuasive case that the real future of the movie musical may lie not in splashy grandeur but in modesty and understatement.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Robert Wilonsky
Village Voice
May 15, 2007
The magic of the movie is how utterly wrenching it renders [its] songs, which thrive alongside the film's simple, eloquent, dusky narrative.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
May 14, 2007
It deserves to be seen and offers more real human emotion than most of the year's would be box office busters.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Dennis Harvey
Variety
January 30, 2007
Pic's charm seems so offhand one might not notice the skill with which helmer John Carney pulls it off, or how it plays like a full-blown musical without anyone bursting into song.
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James Greenberg
Hollywood Reporter
January 30, 2007
Wonderful and winning Irish musical.