Sunday, 20 April 2014

Once (2007) - Film Review

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Starring: Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová


An affable Dublin street busker/hoover repairman (Glenn Hansard) catches the attention of a young Czech migrant. Drawn in by the raffish charm of his music, the girl (Markéta Irglová) encourages him to take his talent seriously. Still lovesick over his ex-girlfriend and she conflicted over her absentee husband, the pair embark on a mutual labour of love, recording the street buskers songs with a view to success.


Once is a charming, low budget film (approx. €130,000) told with heart. With a down to earth, fly on the wall style, it reads like a documentary of two people who help recognise the potential in one another. A simple story, the charm lies in its two protagonists - unnamed but so understated and likeable. There is obviously a tender connection between the pair but Once refrains from following the clichéd route of inevitable romance. Instead the film leaves us with the enduring message that some people are right for us at certain times in our lives, to help us move on - a helping hand along the way to where we're going.

Once has an almost impoverished feel to it, set to the rain dashed cobbled high streets of Dublin, the bare, rudimentary flat of Irglová's character and filled with humorous pathos characters such as a down on his luck(!) mugger, Once has an unmistakably rakish charm. With original pieces sung by the two leads, the soundtrack brilliantly follows their time together, charting their creative collaboration.
(Songs including "When Your Mind's Made Up" and "Falling Slowly" are reminiscent of the now defunct collaboration of Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan).

With its down to earth authenticity, Once is a return to the simplicity of storytelling, quietly celebrating the joys of music, gritty determination & friendship.

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