The Swell Season (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Swell Season (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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 personal tragedy. As Glen and Markéta's relationship unhinges, ultimately music prevails as their enduring connection. -- (C) Official Site

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Glen Hansard
as Glen Hansard
Markéta Irglová
as Markéta Irglová

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Critic Reviews for The Swell Season

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (16)

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

Full Review… | January 13, 2012
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

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
Toronto Star
Top Critic

For Once lovers who needed a "what happened next?" epilogue, this one moves even as it chastises.

December 2, 2011
Denver Post
Top Critic

An emotional erosion captured by the trio in decidedly unromantic black-and-white.

Full Review… | December 1, 2011
Top 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.

Full Review… | November 25, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A documentary that is every bit as intimate and disarming as the movie that made them famous...

Full Review… | November 23, 2011
Washington Post
Top Critic

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.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Very well made documentary on the phenomenon that is Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová's collaborations that has come to be known as The Swell Season. A surprisingly candid and very affecting depiction of Glen Hansard's family and his relationship with his Mother and Father before his death and after. Also a chronicle of the gradually widening gulf between the two musicians this is truly insightful for any fan of the band and the movie Once.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

The Swell Season is more a piece about the complications of romance through sudden fame and presents Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova as subjects very open and aware of the complexity of emotions. The rich black and white cinematography provides a beautiful atmosphere for the emotions and the music.

Zack Ford
Zack Ford

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