Release Date: May 16th, 2007 (Landmark Sunshine Cinemas) by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
The Cast: Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, Bill Hodnett, Marcella Plunkett.
Directed by John Carney.
BASIC PREMISE: In Dublin, a street musician (Hansard) falls in love with a young Czech woman (Irglová) who helps him to write, rehearse and record songs with him.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Once resonates with so much warmth, charisma and sweetness, without trying to hard, that if feels like a breath of fresh air. Glen Hansard plays “Guy”, an unnamed Dublin street musician who moonlights as a vacuum cleaner repairman at his father’s (Hodnett) shop. While performing on the street one day, he meets “Girl”, an unnamed woman who emigrated from the Czech Republic and now lives with her mother while taking care of her own young daughter. It turns out that Guy and Girl both share a passion for music and hit it off right away. Girl gradually reveals details about herself, such as her crumbling marriage; Guy has recently been dumped by his girlfriend (Plunkett). As a matter of fact, both Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová have worked together as a singer/songwriting team in real life, but they both give believable performances like experienced actors would. Writer/director John Carney infuses the screenplay with natural dialogue that feels smooth to the ears just like when you hear beautiful music. Unlike in the bland, contrived “romantic” Hollywood film Music and Lyrics, you won’t find yourself rolling your eyes from corniness or pretentiousness in any scenes here. It’s easy to feel absorbed by the strong chemistry between Guy and Girl, especially given how real, warm and likable the characters seem. To top it all off, the music they play will enchant you with all of its emotion and will tempt you to buy the soundtrack right away.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Guy and Girl are meant for each other in many ways, but, just like in real life, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Girl can’t just sacrifice everything she values just to spend the rest of her life with guy; she’d rather take care of her mother and child. Everyone has different priorities in life in order to be physically and spiritually happy, so even if two people hit it off, the priorities more important than romance factor in during the long run. One day, she might re-order her priorities and change her mind, but, again, life isn’t as simple or predictable as it seems.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Enchanting, heartfelt, and refreshingly real. A unforgettable romantic gem.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater
The "O" Menu