Movie Review for Once (2007)


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Review #498 of 365
Movie Review of Once (2007) [R] 85 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $12.00
Where Viewed: Regency Tamarac Square, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 7 August 2007
Time: 4:45 pm
DVD Release Date: 18 December 2007 (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official WebsiteFilm's Trailer

Soundtrack: Download now from Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Once (Music from the Motion Picture) - or - order the CD below

Directed by: John Carney ("Bachelors Walk")
Written by: John Carney ("Bachelors Walk")

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Alaistair Foley (debut) • Catherine Hansard (debut) • Glen Hansard (The Commitments) • Kate Haugh (debut) • Senan Haugh (debut) • Darren Healy ("Love Is the Drug") • Gerard Hendrick (debut) • Bill Hodnett (Man About Dog) • Markéta Irglová (debut) • Danuse Ktrestova (debut)


Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
People who attended the Sundance Film Festival apparently fell in love with this quirky Irish film called Once and described by some as a modern day "Romeo and Juliet". The film stars actual Irish singer songwriter and national treasure Glen Hansard as Guy and Czech singer songwriter, Markéta Irglová, as Girl. The two meet almost by accident and soon discover a mutual passion for music composition and performance. She seems to have a brilliant ear for lyrics that bring additional significance and passion to Guy's songs. The most memorable early scene is of the two in a piano and music shop playing the piano together where he reveals to her a song he wrote for a scorned lover. There's a sense of quixotic electricity between them as if their souls have shared these moments time and again in previous incarnations. Much older than she, Guy seems smitten with her and intrigued by the fact that she doesn't find him totally out of the question as a friend, at least. Over using the expression "cool" to a maddening extreme as the word not only doesn't roll well off his tongue he seems like a guy who isn't really trying to use the word that, by now, also isn't, were it not for the elegance of his music, Guy might seem almost lecherous though in his pursuit of her. She tolerates him from a healthy distance, until she lets down her guard a bit and allows herself to fall into the their music. Eventually, they form a small band, and after shrewd negotiating, secure a recording studio for a weekend to put Guy's songs onto CD masters for his eventual plans to go to London and make it big.

"The music is really what this film is about, and when it's good and not repetitive, the film soars, and when it's repetitive or there's too much focus on the rather mundane lives of the characters, it sinks. "
The "Romeo and Juliet" comparison has no bearing in reality. These two are never really in love. He might think he is, but she never seems to be. Other than musically, there is nearly no chemistry between them other than that which might be described as slightly flirtatious. Their connection is in the music. She loves his music, and he loves that she loves his music. But, she is not free to love him in the ways he is free to love her. She hides, at first, her dual life, that she eventually reveals when he tries to get too close. The story does not end tragically with their deaths. Their parents are not at odds over their relationship. Finally, while catchy and sonorous, their music is not the stuff of beautiful romances that last through eternity. This is not meant to imply the music isn't beautiful or good. Some of it is outstanding. When it comes to the story that's here, it's not complicated. It's not terribly original nor stunning. In some ways, the story and the acting is just window dressing sandwiched between performances of the songs. In that, the film is more like a rockumentary, and suffers in the dramatic sense when it comes to the capturing of the singing and creation of entire songs on film. You have to really love the music and the performers to be willing to watch the singing and recording of an entire 3-5 minute song on film. It's not like a music video that tells a story with special effects, this is like setting up a camera outside the glass of a recording studio in the tech room and just watching the recording of a song. Even if the song is brilliant, it's slightly akin to watching paint dry. This is exactly why they don't do this when they make music videos. It's dull. And, since, in the case of this film, the songs recorded are ones we've heard before in the film, it's a bit too much. The music is really what this film is about, and when it's good and not repetitive, the film soars, and when it's repetitive or there's too much focus on the rather mundane lives of the characters, it sinks.

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Related Products from Amazon.com
Other Projects Featuring Once (2007)
Cast Members
Alaistair FoleyCatherine HansardGlen Hansard
Kate HaughSenan HaughDarren Healy
Gerard HendrickBill HodnettMarkéta Irglová
Danuse Ktrestova
Director
John Carney
Writer
John Carney
CD Soundtrack
DVD


Review-lite Once (2007) [max of 150 words]
Irish singer songwriter and national treasure Glen Hansard plays Guy and Czech singer songwriter, Markéta Irglová, plays Girl in what amounts to a mock rockumentary about a guy who, in a week's time, of meeting a girl gets from her an infusion of lyrics, music, and confidence to professionally record his music and try to make it big by leaving home and going to London. Heralded as a modern-day "Romeo and Juliet" the film actually does not fit that description. The music is really what this film is about, and when it's good and not repetitive, the film soars, and when it's repetitive or there's too much focus on the rather mundane lives of the characters, it sinks.

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1 comment:

Roger Green said...

I liked it, but I never thought - or heard - that this was supposed to be a Romeo & Juliet story. http://rogerowengreen.blogspot.com/2007/08/movie-review-once.html