Like all good things, Once was worth the months I've spent waiting for the DVD release; happily biding my time playing the gorgeous soundtrack. See, I'm a real music & lyrics junkie. Just about every genre is represented in my music collection, and am always on the hunt for new voices/sounds to covet and eventually share. I thrive on and actually crave songs that get under my skin, emotionally speaking. Add a film featuring that kind of music, and I'm in!
Since I read that the 2 stars of the movie are actually Irish and Czech musicians who have written and performed music together for years, I knew if the movie was half as good as the story their soundtrack revealed, that I would love it:
Once is a 2006 Irish musical film written and directed by John Carney. Set in Dublin, this naturalistic drama stars musicians Glen Hansard (of popular Irish rock band The Frames) and Markéta Irglová as fictional struggling musicians. Collaborators prior to making the film, Hansard and/or Irglová composed and performed all but one of the original songs in the movie.
Once has been not only billed, but also glowingly reviewed as a modern musical (but thankfully is nothing like this kind of crap). The musicality of this film is so naturally weaved in, that the fact it may fall under the definition of the word musical will not really occur to you.
Some of you commented and/or emailed me after the previous post that it looked like a chick flick; and I get where your disdain of that type of movie comes from. Many times I find chick flicks don't give enough credit to the audience, and their endings can be shallow cop-outs. Don't get me wrong, I still love When Harry Met Sally but it's not what I want out of every movie-watching experience. This particular movie is not a chick flick because it's not at all sappy.
I don't ever listen to the critics, but in case you want the male perspective and what 2 dudes who get paid to review films (I'm just jealous!) have to say about it, watch this:
I even had 3 of my straight male friends tell me to see this movie, so that counts for something with you other men, right?
I was mesmerized and got goose bumps from the following scene; which starts 4 minutes into the movie (right after the initial difficult-to-understand scene that I needed the closed captioning for). Believe me when I tell you that literally one minute & 20 seconds into this scene, there was no more struggling to decipher the meaning of what he was trying to convey. I found myself caught up in all of that authentic emotion, and because of that, the gravitational pull of this entire movie for the duration:
"Scratching at the surface now, and I'm trying hard to work it out. So much has gone misunderstood... this mystery only leads to doubt and I didn't understand when you reached out to take my hand. And if you have something to say, you'd better say it now..."
Despite it's title, I've watched this movie three times since Wednesday, and it's quite possible I'll watch it again with friends before the long holiday weekend is over. You should do the same.
Gentlemen, if you still aren't sold on this idea, and if you have a 'special friend' or wife, trust that getting this movie for an evening together will do nothing but score you major brownie points (even without the sappy ending she usually goes for). Do it up right, though. Get a good bottle of red, fire up some candles, snuggle up under a blanket; and enjoy.
*The titles of this post and the previous one are song lyrics from Gold and Falling Slowly off of the soundtrack.
**I hesitated to give away too much of the actual storyline, so if you're interested in reading more, including (unfortunately) plot spoilers, click here.