Once [Blu-ray] [Region-Free]
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The Irish romance ONCE may be a musical, but it is miles away from the traditional Hollywood idea of people bursting into song. Glen Hansard (frontman for indie rock band the Frames) plays the guy, a street musician who is playing for change when he meets the girl (Marketa Irglova), an immigrant from the Czech Republic. The pair immediately bond over their shared love of music (he is a guitarist, and she plays the piano), and the film chronicles their tentative relationship. Both are weighed down by plenty of baggage: his songs are fueled by a painful breakup, and she is a young mother who left her husband behind in her native country. Like the independent favourite BEFORE SUNRISE, ONCE is a simple, sweet drama that doesn t rely on an elaborate plot. With its use of digital video and handheld cameras, ONCE matches its spare visual style to its intimate mood. Each moment feels stolen from real life, and the story is at once familiar and fresh. Driven more by music than by dialogue, ONCE features a stirring soundtrack of heartfelt indie rock sung by Hansard and Irglova. Before his foray into film, director John Carney (ON THE EDGE) played bass in the Frames, and his passion for music is clear in this modern musical that hits every note perfectly.
Top Customer Reviews
I don't want to reveal much in the way of details about the movie since much of the joy of the film is discovering the ways it defies expectations. In broad outline it is about a street singer who has put his emotional life on cold storage because of a broken heart and the woman he meets who helps him open himself back up to life. During the day in Dublin he sings familiar standards for tips but at night, when the crowds thin out, he sings his own original material. We see him this way for the first time through the eyes of the Girl as she first meets him (in the credits the two lead characters, never addressed by name, are listed as Guy and Girl). He, played by Frames' frontman Glen Hansard, is singing an absolutely stunning song with intense passion. As he finishes, the camera pulls back to reveal her standing there. From thenceforward we see the two of them get to know each other as they perform a string of amazing songs together.
Neither Glen Hansard nor Markéta Irglová is a professional actor. Hansard did have a prominent role in another great Dublin film about music, THE COMMITMENTS.Read more ›
A man and a woman meet while he is playing guitar and singing in the street for money. She wants to hear more. He is a little jaded from his last relationship, but he can't help but like her. Later on, he finds out that she plays piano and they come together in the piano store to play a song together. That was my favorite song in the movie. I found myself glued to the screen, and then, my mind wandering, because it reminded me that I need to discover some new music.
Things don't always end in life they way they do in Hollywood movies (and I'm glad for that) but you still can't help dropping a few tears. So touching and beautiful. I will definitely buy the soundtrack.
Over the next couple of days they share their music, write songs together, and then eventually record an album. All the while they are building a friendship that borders but never crosses to romance because of his love for an ex and her rocky marriage.
The music was written and performed by the actors and the result is magical. As I sit here typing this review, the songs are happily playing in my head; memorable melodies and haunting lyrics. The credits had barely started rolling when I hopped online to order the soundtrack. He plays guitar and has a voice that is sexy and powerful. She plays the piano and has a voice that is sweet and angelic. Together they are superb.
There is something so sensual about really good music, the way every note and word can touch every inch of your soul and take over your heart. I was literally moved to tears by a few of the songs in this film, not because they were sad, though some were, but because they were so beautiful, so perfect.
Every ONCE in a blue moon I will watch a film that will captivate me from the start and stay with me long after it's over. This is one of those films. It touched me on so many different levels and evoked so many different emotions and thoughts. I will watch this movie, listen to its soundtrack, repeatedly, and never tire of it, because it's just that good.
The storyline is bittersweet and eloquent; a modern day musical about two people at a crossroads in their lives when they meet.Read more ›
Guy (Glen Hansard, a real musician who also appeared in the film "The Commitments"), a street busker who sings his heart out on the streets of Dublin, works in his dad's vacuum repair shop. One day, a young lady (Marketa Irglova), a Czech immigrant, begins to ask him questions about his music, his passions, the inspiration for his ballads. They form a friendship and she encourages him to follow his dream and put together a demo album. As the friendship grows, she helps him negotiate a recording studio and practice the songs. In the process, she invites him into her home, to meet her mother and young daughter. During the course of their relationship, they grow closer, but she is still married and can't let anything happen. They round up some other musicians and begin to work on the demo, to help him with his dream.
"Once", written and directed by John Carney, is a very intimate look at the relationship between these two people. A lot of handheld camera work, close shots and grungy, real locations help to give the film an incredible cinema verite look and style. The camera work is handheld, but not overly shaky, creating shots with an intimate, close appearance, really thrusting us into the middle of the action.
The relationship between Guy and Girl (as they are listed in the credits) is really an interesting one that draws you into their lives. Initially, the guy is a bit put off by the girl, she is extremely chatty and forthcoming, asking him a lot of questions about his music, why he sings certain songs, the inspiration, etc.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A well done Irish tale of singing and song writing with a different twist than the usual.Published 12 days ago by Harry Rabin
Saw the play and movie was just as wonderful. Loved the Dublin setting.Published 13 days ago by Joey
Love this musical...the healing of the heart after a break up w/ Irish melody.Published 20 days ago by jacqualine west