"Once" is simply a brilliant film. It's a giddy pleasure and I'm absolutely remiss that I didn't see it in the theatre when the getting was good. I had heard so many good things about this film that I had fallen into cynical film guy mode, so i missed it. Had I seen it during it's theatrical run, I would have been absolute jelly by the end. In public, that would not have been good. In the privacy of my living room, however, it's perfectly okay to grin wide from ear to ear and clutch at my chest when I'm either beaming or my heart is breaking.
"Once" is the first film I've seen that completely reinvents the movie musical successfully. Making it a love story set in Ireland between a street musician and a classical pianist makes perfect sense. They never sing for unbelievable reasons. They sing each other their songs and the songs somehow double for their emotions in the moment. There are no production numbers. Everything is organic that can be.
The film stars Glen Hansard, a street musician that daylights for his father in a Hoover repair shop. He's perfect in this role. The first time looking at him made me think, "This guy looks like Harry Nilsson", then I thought, "He REALLY looks like the guitarist from "The Commitments"... which, it turns out, he is. Now, "The Commitments" is an all time favorite of mine so it was great to see this actor back again. He meets this Girl played by Markéta Irglová. She is a Czech girl living with her young child and mother who works odd jobs to make ends meet. When they meet, it's obvious they are extremely attracted to each other and it's adorable. The thing is, like so much in life, life itself gets in the way of them coming together (he has an ex that he can't get over, she has a child and estranged husband) and the only way they really come together is through the guy's music. She becomes his muse and he becomes the person she needs to forget about herself.
This film is so incredibly sweet and life affirming that it's disarming. Every other scene, I half expected something dark and sinister to happen to them but I was relieved that the film pulled no punches of that sort.
It's out on video now, so you need to go and see it as soon as possible. It's wonderful.