ONCE

John Carney’s film is winsome yet sometimes profane, heartwarming yet bittersweet; the tiny Irish musical that could. The “plot” is simplicity itself: The “Guy” (Glen Hansard of the Frames) meets the “Girl” (Czech immigrant Marketa Irglova) and they make beautiful music together. But the Devil’s in the details: The “Guy” (Hansard), who alternates his time between working in his father’s vacuum repair shop and singing for pennies on the street with his knowledge of “established songs,” as well as his trusty guitar to guide his original efforts, is a heartbroken Irish troubadour on the streets of Dublin. The “Girl”, a young beauty who has more than one surprise up her sleeve, quickly takes to the sad “old man” who is enchanted by her as well. They decide to at least have a musical relationship, collaborating on some songs; she plays piano, sings background and writes a few lovely lyrics and he bangs out a mean guitar string. But is it meant to be? Writer-director John Carney doesn’t interfere with fancy camerawork or even the typical jittery nature of digital video – despite a heart-stoppingly accelerated shooting schedule and an excruciatingly shoe-string budget. Hansard and Irglova are something approaching magical as two ordinary people in an ordinary world with extraordinary gifts who find each other. The music these two make together is adorable, catchy, and memorable. The results are an utterly lovely experience you won’t soon forget.

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<br/>NOTE: Winner of the 2007 Oscar for Best Song (“Falling Slowly”).

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