“Once” is an art-house modern-day musical that describes a period in life of British street-musician and an immigrant from Czech republic. The film was produced in 2006, and two main roles are performed not by experienced actors, but by professional musicians. The movie was directed by John Carney, and two main roles were taken by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.
This movie is not a typical love-story, and every minute of it is full of outstanding emotions and tender feelings between heroes. A well-known movie-critic Roger Ebert gave a positive comment about a film. “It's one of those films where you hold your breath, hoping it knows how good it is, and doesn't take a wrong turn”, he mentioned (Ebert). Indeed, a movie is extraordinary; there are no names of main characters, all the dialogues are short, like there is no sense in speaking. As the matter of fact, unnecessary details are not needed, as the main idea is flaming in characters’ eyes and stays between accords of their songs.
He is a street musician, playing on the streets of Dublin. She is a Czech immigrant, who earns money by selling flowers and cleaning houses. Their first meeting takes place on the street, during his evening performance. The music attracted her attention, and the girl came closer and started asking talking. Despite his obvious disappointment, she is interested in his songs.
The Guy’s second job is repairing vacuum cleaners, and the Girl requires his help in this. Thus, day-by-day, two people from different worlds are spending more and more time together, talking about life and music. It appears, that she is also a musician, and once she is taking him to the music store, where she usually plays piano. Together, they are playing and singing of one his song, and romance in their relationship begins. Although life is not a bad of roses, and different circumstances bring characters to reality. Both of them have stories behind, dreams in the mind and hearts, open to new feelings and emotions.
“Once” stays far away from Hollywood musicals and happy-ending-films; it is full of sweet moments and singing eyes-to-eyes, but the movies describe another part of everyday life. There are a lot of social problems that were raised in the film, such as generation conflicts, gender inequality, family’s problems, issues between parents and children, person’s right to choose a destiny for himself.
It’s significant, that before “Once” John Carney never worked with music drama as a genre. When a low-budget shot got worldwide popularity, Carney explained, that the success of the film might have come due to his musical experience (for a while a director played as a bassist in “The Frames”, Glen Hansard’s band). Later, the director mentioned, “I wanted to find a simple setting and storyline that could use songs in a way that a modern audience would accept. I finally settled on the idea of a busker on the streets of Dublin; someone who, having nothing, has nothing to lose” (Roberts).
The atmosphere of a poor Dublin was brilliantly showed by actors’ emotions. Each glance, each handshake presented a whole history of the character, and offers a full range of emotions for the audience.
“Once” received positive feedback from different critics. The main theme of the film “Falling slowly” won the Academy Award for the Best Original Song, and received two nominations for Grammy. In general, the musical content of the movie is mostly calm and sad. As all the songs were written by the main characters, their genre is corresponding to actors’ music style, which ranges from indie-rock to light country.
The movie shows, that life is hard for everyone, and we need to find powers to fight for our love and our dreams. Even if it seems like there’s no end for problems, a true feeling ruins all walls.
Ebert, Roger. 'Once Movie Review & Film Summary (2007) | Roger Ebert'. Rogerebert.com. N.p., 2007. Web. 28 June 2015.
Roberts, Sheila. 'John Carney & Cast Interview, Once - Moviesonline'. Moviesonline.ca. Web. 28 June 2015.