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Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 25, 2008 by amson


Move over “Michael Clayton“- you’ve been bumped from the top spot. And the film to credit for this feat is- “Once“! (IMDb entry)
You’ve probably not heard of this (musical) movie, and if not for the fact that it stars one of my favorite musician/ songwriters I probably would never have heard of it either.

Yes, you read that correctly- I called the film a “musical”. However, it’s not a musical in the “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Phantom of the Opera”, or “Rent” sort of way, it’s more of a modern “folk/ rock musical”. The main male character is Glen Hansard– lead singer and front man for the Irish rock/ roots band “The Frames“, while the lead female character is Marketa Irglová– a Czech singer/ songwriter. Being that these two are first and foremost musicians and not actors, the film takes on a real and authentic quality rarely seen in movies nowadays. There’s a sense of urgency to the characters- the songs they perform infuse a fresh dose of reality into an already grounded and pedestrian atmosphere. Basically, when watching this movie one feels as if the lead characters could be anybody- even me or you.

The basic premise of the film is simple- ordinary guy meets ordinary girl, they find out they share a love for music, and through their shared love of music come closer together and discover that each other has a secret passion…. (I won’t spoil the whole movie!).

Neither character has a specified name- whereas Glen Hansard is listed as “Guy” in the credits, and Marketa Irglová listed simply as “Girl”. They never address each other directly either, which leads to an ordinary kind of vibe all the way through the movie. Guy is a street musician (busker) and vacuum repair man (which leads to one of the funniest movie moments of the year) and Girl is a house cleaner. They have an awkward sort of relationship- one which borders on the romantic side while still staying grounded in the acquaintance mold. Neither seems comfortable in their current situation- weather it be professional or personal, but each seems to find strength from one another in order to make the changes they’ve been longing to see in themselves. What’s interesting throughout this movie is how the manner in which the characters interact becomes the driving force for how the viewer plots the outcome in their own head- whereas most dramas set a plot and lead you in a certain direction, this film lets your own perception of each characters actions lead you down your own self prescribed path. I enjoyed the feel this gave the movie… almost as if it could be my own life playing out in parts- I’d try and make decisions for the movie based on what seemed to be important or impending in my own mind.

All in all, I cannot say enough about this movie. The setting is beautiful- and how could it not be- it’s Dublin! The characters are beautifully intertwined with each others insecurities and misgivings. The music is mostly that of Hansards solo work or from his band The Frames- which alone is incredible- but made even more powerful through the collaboration of Hansard and Irglová. They compliment each other wonderfully- neither displays any pretense or celebrity- and thusly their styles mesh and empower perfectly. In addition to the music being so wonderful is the fact that it does, in many instances, drive the storyline while adding emotion, elegance, and credence to the overall plot.

I could go on and on about this movie- but I doubt anyone would wish for that. So, I’ll just wrap up my thoughts into this concise statement:
If you like good great music and a good great story with good great performances, go rent this movie soon now!!

So, what does all the aforementioned stuff mean? It all adds up to mean “Once” was my favorite movie of 2007- and in turn it has a nice spot in my top 10 movies of all time. YEAH!