Once

 
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A serendipitous meeting on the streets of Dublin between a down on his luck Irish street performer and a poor Czech immigrant sparks a bond that plays out in this hip modern day music film. ONCE follows the two as they write rehearse and record the songs that reveal their unique love story.System Requirements:Run time: 86 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA/LOVE & ROMANCE Rating: R UPC: 024543477594 Manufacturer No: 2247759

Winner of the World Audience Award at Sundance, Once starts out as a small-scale romance, like Before Sunrise, before arriving somewhere unexpected. An Irish busker (Glen Hansard, the Frames and The Commitments) meets a Czech flower seller (Mark®¶ta Irglov®Ę) while singing on the streets of Dublin. (In the credits, they're listed as Guy and Girl.) She likes what she hears and lets him know. Turns out she's a musician, too. They work on a few songs together and a friendship is forged. She lives with her widowed mother, who doesn't speak English. He lives with his widowed father, who owns a repair shop. Since he broke up with his girlfriend, the guy has been drifting, unable and unwilling to get his life in order. The girl encourages him to pursue a record deal, and the guy emerges from his funk. Then he makes a move on the girl, who rejects his advances. He's confused, but as he comes to find, there's a reason she's keeping her distance. Though Once is filled with appealing folk-pop by Hansard and Irglov®Ę (released on CD as The Swell Season), the movie isn't a traditional musical, but rather a more optimistic Brief Encounter. Filmmaker John Carney, Hansard's former bandmate, captures the real city--in all its affluence and poverty--rather than the picture postcard version. His beautifully shot film serves as a heartfelt ballad about all the underclass Guys and Girls swept aside amidst Ireland's economic miracle. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Beyond Once on DVD

Musicals on DVD

Once: The Soundtrack

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Customer Reviews:
  • A humble tribute to the bonds forged through music
    In our cynical age, it somehow seems especially creative, even courageous, to make a film that is not about corruption, ennui, ulterior motives, dysfunctional social structures, or tragic flaws. Once is a film that is refreshing in its earnestness and in its respect for the things that add meaning and beauty to our lives.

    I'm not a musician, but I once aspired to be one. And if I have one pet peeve about film generally, it's how film often disrespects music. It's often treated as a subordinate art, mixed in to add a little punch to the main event, the dramatic narrative. So many films use music carelessly.

    Not this film. This is a film whose central focus is the way that music forges bonds between people; how music enables us to express our feelings, and not only to better understand but to care about others; and how music is sometimes the most beautiful thing available to grab hold of.

    This film reminded me of a conversation I once had with a friend, in which we concluded that for almost every person's romantic moments, music is somehow involved. Maybe it's a song you've danced to together, or heard together during a special sharing moment. Maybe it's simply music that you listened to privately to work through intense feelings. All in all, I'd wager that few of us have ever fallen in love without music being a big part of the picture.

    This film is essentially a musical - but it's not like any other musical I've seen. It's not a film that asks you to shift back and forth between plausible dramatic action and wholly implausible musical production numbers. Instead, in this film, the music is central to the action; the characters are making music together, and every piece of music performed in the film is in a context where you fully believe those characters might make music together in that way. I can't think of another film where the music seemed to matter so much to the characters.

    We are so conditioned in our culture to indulge our societal ADD at the expense of respecting music and its uplifting power. Thus, when I first watched this film, I was initially feeling like, "OK, enough of this song, time to cut to something else," - as if sitting through an entire piece of music was more than a film could ask of me. But unless a film does this, it can never fully convey the sense of the joy of making music, and how it brings you closer to other people. The film shows people experiencing this in all its fullness, a special, deeply human experience worth celebrating.

    In a lesser film, the film's studio scene would involve some kind of subplot during the performance - furtive glances, repressed conflicts, other dramatic elements - it's all too easy to imagine. Here the only focus of the scene is the shared satisfaction of making the music itself. Similarly, a dinner party depicted in the film is significant chiefly for the music that people share during it.

    The film is shot in a very natural, unobtrusive style; you often feel as though you are just a fly on the wall, whether it's in a repair shop or an apartment.

    OK, a small confession: the music in this film isn't really my cup of tea. It's more repetitive than I would like, especially so in the lyrics. And I have an issue with music that is too persistently emotive. I can deal with a song building to a pitch of emotionalism, but the songs in this film tried to sustain that high pitch more than is my personal taste. But I say this not to criticize the film; it's simply to say that you can enjoy and respect this film even if this isn't your favorite musical genre. And, I must say, there is no denying that the protagonists do produce some harmonies that are genuinely, hauntingly lovely. Favorite genre or no, there is some truly beautiful music here.

    Another thing I appreciated about this film is that it felt no need to create contrived situations, black hats, or exaggerated conflicts. The characters are real people, dealing with plausible issues - heartbreak, loneliness, parental responsibility, regret, money problems, frustrated hopes - which the film doesn't overplay. It just shows men and women using music to work out the feelings that arise in their lives. And, it should be said, the music enables the viewer to feel some of the emotion, too. I saw some moist eyes at film's end.

    I'm uncertain how much to recommend this film to my friends; it's certainly not Citizen Kane. I am afraid that one of them would put it in the DVD player, decide the music was too plaintive, and start rolling their eyes. For me, though, it all pulsed with sincerity, and I appreciated that feeling.

    Music is one of the most precious enrichments of the human experience. This film respects that, and honors it.
    ...more info
  • Absolutely fantastic film.
    I won't waste time or space going into why and I don't want to give anything away by explaining anything. It is a great, great film. Five stars. That is all....more info
  • One of the best indie movies ever
    If you love music, like indie films and/or maybe just like accents of people from European countries, this movie will surely blow you away. Story line is great, the music is even better and for people who never did acting before, they did quite well in this movie. Buy it and I promise you that you won't regret it or at least check it out first somehow but it's worth owning....more info
  • A realistic romance
    This is an extraordinary movie, full of small moments and a sweet sense of promise. It manages to convey the growing attraction between the two main characters without delving into the bag of Hollywood cliches. The relationship that develops is realistically complicated, and doesn't take the shopworn path to a happy ending.

    The music is also fantastic, and all the more appealing because it was written and performed by the principal players, not in bombastic musical-theater style, but organically within the course of the story.

    It's a beautiful film that will stick with you and hold up to repeat viewing....more info
  • Excellent Movie
    My husband and I happened to stumble on to this movie. We first heard about it from some award show (maybe the Emmy's) last year. This movie won best song and when they accepted their award we noticed first because of their heavy irish accent, but also becasue they were so genuinely excited about it! So once we saw it come on one of the movie channels we had to watch it. We were both so moved how amazing this movie was for it's simplicity, love and heartache the main character portrays, and wonderful music. It even brought me to tears at one point. I think if you have ever loved someone and had a bad breakup or just even missed that person you will relate to this movie. It's really great, I'm telling you. We had to buy the movie and the soundtrack and add it to our collection. Totally recommend it :)...more info
  • the importance of being earnest
    I didn't dislike this movie. How's that for a compliment? Glen Hansard is certainly easy on the eye. AND I appreciated that they made a movie where the main characters didn't have to sleep together (a dead giveaway that it is not an American movie). But the songs to me all sounded the same, and earnest like they had something to SAY. And did they ENJOY recording their songs in the studio (in the movie)? Whatever....more info
  • Marketa Irglova
    I'm gonna be honest and say that I;m giving this movie 4 stars because of the performance of Marketa Irglova. Take this novice actress away and replace her with someone else, and the movie will be worth less than half a star.
    I didn't think the music was that great. I only find Falling Away and Marketa's piano piece about her husband passable. All the songs have too much angst to interest me much. Music aside, Irglova pretty much stole the movie with the scenes she was in. Her sincerity and occasional goofiness makes her shine through her dull male co-star....more info
  • touching to say the least
    this movie is fantastic. it truly touches the heart and is particularly appealing to music aficionados. it is a great film to watch with your boyfriend or girlfriend....more info
  • NTSC U.S. DVD audio playback STILL wrong!
    Now don't get me wrong, my two-star rating has nothing to do with the movie itself. Once was easily one of the best movies I saw last year, it is definitely one of the finest and most moving musicals I've ever seen, and has some of the finest music you will ever hear. My frustration lies in the U.S. DVD version of the film, specifically its audio.

    I received Once as a Christmas present last year shortly after it came out on DVD. I went to watch it again and immediately realized the audio playback was wrong. It was half a step too slow, so all the songs were out of key and the voices sounded somewhat lower than when I first saw the film. I tried other DVD players and got the same result.

    So I was disappointed, but I assumed that since the DVD had just been released this had just been an error in DVD authoring. Many DVDs have had to be recalled or reissued because of a glitch or mistake of some kind. So nine months later, the DVD is still circulating well and the movie is even being shown on HBO (and played perfectly in tune to boot), so I finally head back out and buy a fresh new copy of the DVD...and get the same result. The audio is still wrong, still flat, there are other DVD formats, a CD soundtrack and a TV broadcasting of the film offering sound evidence of an audio discrepancy, but nothing has been done about it.

    This is why I'm so frustrated. I love Once, and I want to see it in its finest musical form. Too bad I live in the U.S. which just happens to get the short end of the stick in the audio playback department. My advice to any other U.S. viewers, watch the movie on HBO or watch the DVD on one of those Sony players in which you can actually adjust the audio pitch on the disc playback by half steps. Or just hope that the DVD is some day rereleased and something is finally done about this. What a frustrating setback for an excellent film....more info
  • great music driven film
    if you love music and film then this is a movie that you cannnot miss...more info
  • solemnly slanted
    My favorite film experience since ONCE WERE WARRIORS. coincidence? you bet.
    Love the chemistry - (apparently its based in realism) - favorite parts were the "jam sessions"; the way the intensity builds as the songs progress is reminiscent of the 1970 - 1986 jazz giant WEATHER REPORT. Also, the actor dude is a spittin image of my good buddy's son, from the hair and complexion down to the playful "wide eyed" expression. great stuff ...more info
  • Really just a classic film
    I see a lot of 1-star reviews out there that clearly missed the point of this entire film and it makes me laugh in their faces. Watch the extras after the you watch the movie if you are curious about how the film was shot and put together and how the actors were hired.

    For those that say, Glen Hansard can't sing ... we'll he a professional musician and has a band - the director was actually band mates with him at one point.

    The movie is not a love story in the sense that the two main characters will fall in love. The movie is more about a man who had his heart crushed and is trying to get back on his feet and find the motivation to get his musical career going and Marketa Irglova's character provides that motivation.

    I loved the guerilla shooting of the film and that the actors had no previous acting experience, but were friends in real life at one point. Just a great film and worth seeing and buying ... unless you are a total moron - then you should probably stick to, "Shoot em up"...more info
  • A great movie...
    Definitely one of the great music movies of recent memory. While the music is heartbreaking the story is one of hope and possibility. A beautifully told story that features an incredible chemistry between the two lead actors. I would recommend this movie to anyone....more info
  • Enjoyable throughout
    "Once" is a terrific first film from John Carney, which stars his old bandmate Glen Hansard as well as the talented Markéta Irglová. It is filmed in and around Dublin, including the lovely beach at Howth; and it is enjoyable throughout.

    Glen and Markéta won an Academy Award for their song "Falling Slowly," and almost half of the film consists of songs written by Glen. The two are fine actors too; and John is to be commended for putting together a first-rate film on a budget of $100,000, if that is to be believed. If so, Hollywood could learn a lesson or two from him.

    It is definitely worth watching or buying, and it's delightful.
    ...more info
  • Once is not enough
    Buy this movie and then show it to all your friends. Glen Hansard of The Frames has an incredible talent for writing songs that settle into your heart. I was so taken by the music and lyrics that I forgot that the two main actors are new to this medium, not pro actors. If you're not already aware of Glen and his band, do some research, buy some of their CD's, you won't be disappointed....more info
  • Beautiful love story peppered with songs
    When an Irish street musician meets a young Czech flower seller on the streets or (unknown) city in Ireland, they strike an easy friendship. Their initial conversation is spontaneous and not restrained. Soon they learn they are both musicians who can play guitar and piano and also sing a duet without much practice. Their musical education differs (he seems to be self-thought, while she is classically tranied pianist), and so does their social status but that is not barrier to their mutual musical creative force. Their professional relationship grows thru their mutual respect for their musical talent but soon they are falling for each other emotionally to. He has been hurt before with disasterous consequences it seems, while she has had her own share of misfortune of a different kind. Can these two be together? See the movie and make a decision for yourself! The real treasure of this movie is young Marketa Irglova. Her wide open eyes transcent innocence and purity that is rarely seen on film. While Glen Hansard sometimes seems like he is trying too hard to make people love his music, Marketa's mere presence in the film, her subdued singing and performing give this little movie a real spark. Without Marketa this movie simply could not exist....more info
  • remarkable singing, astonishing accomplishment
    The movie is mediocre, but the accomplishment astounding and the soundtrack so beautiful that it'll make your heart soar and your soul sing. This is truly an indie film and should be enjoyed only in the content of such (don't expect big-budget explosions or even good lighting from the two handheld cameras that this was shot with). ...more info
  • My vote of confidence
    Once is about a guy who sings on the street of Dublin for change and otherwise he works at his dad's repair show for hoovers or vaccum cleaners. I'd like to remind you that Dublin is not known for it's street side singing and neither are folks who sing duets in trend. I like the actor's voice and I like how he subtly they show him showing off his art whether on the bus or on streets or simply near a pond. He meets this girl who was just walking by hearing him sing. Much taken by her art, she decides to play piano and add subtle vocals to his lonely melodies. The guy and girl together record their demo tapes and the jamming bit was just excellent. I like how much heart the guy carried and it is not a film to be forgotten and is somewhat of a class act in it's own right.
    Similar films would include Darjeeling Limited and I don't know why I think it's very different at the same times. An easy 8/10....more info
  • instant classic
    when you first watch the movie, you may be thrown by the camera work and rough editing techniques. However, as you continue to watch you realize that this just adds to the personal nature of the film. It is truly a beautiful work of art, from the music to the overall atmosphere created by the story intertwined with the Irish culture and environment. This movie will be cherished for years to come as a genuine, emotion driven film of relationships, about recognizing the miracles in daily life. Highly recommend it. Plus, Amazon is always reliable and the ordering process is a breeze... ...more info
  • I lasted about a half an hour.
    I know the majority of people that have previously reviewed this picture have given it stellar marks. I'm sorry folks, I tried and I just couldn't get through it. Maybe it's my fault and a "male thing" but I'm more than willing to cop to that. Let's face it... I'm not that deep and I must not be in touch with my feminine side.

    The music started off pleasant enough in Once and eventually it wore me down along with the slow pace of the film. I always give a flick at least a half an hour and I barely made it with this one. The music just hurt the film and my ability to stick with it.

    The other thing is that it is purely a "chick flick". My wife and daughter doted on every word and nuance. If you're female and want a love story, this may be for you. If you're a guy, let her watch it alone.

    Bottom line: This is not a movie for guys who like guy's films. You pray for action, laughs and intrigue... you get none. "Once" is a more than appropriate title when it comes to this viewer... never again.
    ...more info
  • 'Once' as a gift
    We bought Once as a gift for our 11 year old granddaughter. She loved it, and so did her mother and father, so much so that they have watched it many times now in the space of a couple of months. The film is warm, funny, romantic, musically inspiring and charmingly refreshing....more info
  • A Love Story or a Musicians' Story?
    'Once' is a love story, but at its heart, it is the struggle of musicians and the creative process. The music itself is an integral character in the show, evolving, expressing serious emotions better than the actors can themselves. For any of you who have, even for a moment, dreamt of creating beautiful music, 'Once' is a version of your story. After watching it, I'd be surprised if even a few musicians could resist downloading the soundtrack.
    ...more info
  • I adore this film!
    I can't really add anything to the 200+ reviews. But I will say that this movie has heart, passion and a nontraditional romance that left me in tears. If you have a passion for music, this is definitely worth seeing.

    EDIT 6/20/08 - I just saw the Swell Season Concert in Chicago a few days ago and it was by far the best concert I'v ever been to. Even if you don't love the film, you need to see the group live, they are amazing! Can't wait till the come back. ...more info
  • Passionate music; passionate film.
    Twenty-two of us watched this film in my History of Modern Ireland class. The class is roughly three hours long, but when it came time to end, we still had fifteen minutes worth of film to watch. Our professor gave us the opportunity to stay, and fifteen of twenty-two people decided to watch the rest of the movie.

    Once is that type of film.

    The music is amazing and the plot is strong, with well-written dialogue and wit. The story revolves around a musician in Dublin, Ireland and his week-long experience with a mysterious young woman who quickly captures his heart. The two compose music together, and by the time it's all said and done, their friendship is as strong as their melody. A truly inspiring film topped off with incredible music throughout. ...more info
  • Passion
    A decent storyline but the clincher is the music. Glen Hansard sings and wails with a great passion. Once is a modern day independent cinematic musical that mesmerizes the soul for a little over an hour. ...more info
  • Lacking in substance but rich in music
    The movie watcher should not expect a scintillating plot from "Once" but the music lover will cherish the crux of the movie - the music. With haunting melodies and intriguing timing, the music will stay in your mind for days. You'll want to buy the soundtrack CD just to hear it as often as you can. You will not be surprised that the song "Falling Slowly" won an Oscar for best original song in a movie in the 2007 Academy Awards. Glen Hansard's beaten up and ragged looking guitar still makes wonderful music in his hands. His voice, along with Marketa Irglova's, combine beautifully to make the music unforgettable....more info
  • Beautiful and thoughtful movie
    This movie is wonderful. It doesn't "end" as most movies do - it leaves on with the feeling of real life - you can feel the characters moving forward....more info
  • What an AMAZING Film!
    This is a superb film . . .very independent, produced on a tiny budget--the director actually gave his salary to the two lead actors. Neither Glen Hansard or Marketa Irglova is a trained or experienced actor . . .both are singer/songwriters, and they are absolutely brilliant. This film will inspire even the hardest of hearts. No one needed to be "perfect" or "experienced," because you feel like you are watching a moment of two people's lives, very natural and real. And the main song from the movie, "Falling Slowly," won a well-deserved Academy Award--it's one of those gems of a song that comes along very, very rarely and changes your life. If I could give the film 100 stars, I would. Highly recommended!
    ~Amy R....more info
  • Second video I've ever bought
    Yeah, I don't buy many movies, as I generally only watch a movie once ever. But after watching Once about the 5th time, I decided this would make a good video to double my video collection.
    It's an incredibly hard movie to explain- It's so different than anything else I've seen. I've watched it with 20+ people, probably, and no one has ever not liked it. It's pretty amazing. The music is downright awesome.
    Can you tell I liked this movie?...more info
  • The Other Great Irish Music Movie
    Make no mistake, this is a movie made by musicians, *for* everyone, but *about* the power and magic of making music. If you are the kind of person who can hear Glen Hansard tell his band "OK, it's in 5/4" and go, REALLY?!! then ONCE is the movie you have been waiting for these many years. I have shown it to audiences of 12-18 year old kids who sat riveted through the whole thing, (very mild) adult content and all, when three years ago they'd have been watching cartoons. If you love gentle romance, music, Ireland or any combination of the three, I cannot recommend ONCE highly enough. The one suggestion I would have, especially in showing it to others who don't hear a lot of Dublin accents, is to turn on the English subtitles. It really helps to know exactly what they're saying when they get going fast or the crowd noise rises.

    And it's not central to the movie or the review, but I can't leave without saying - How cool is it! - that Glen Hansard has a leading role in the two great Irish music movies of modern times. Fair play, as he'd say. Ten cent! Brilliant....more info
  • Great movie and music!
    The music for this movie is wonderful. We have the CD as well and listen to it all the time. The movie itself was very real--raw emotions, down-to-earth, with likable characters. That's pretty amazing given that the "actors" were not actors but musicians....more info
  • IT'S ONLY ME BUT:
    I LOVED IT, A GREAT LOVE STORY. THE MOST ILL FITTED PEOPLE BUT CAME TOGETHER AT THE RIGHT TIME AND PRODUCED THE BEST MUSIC AND LOVE STORY. IT IS THE BEST LOVE STORY IN A LONG TIME. JM...more info
  • Simple, Honest, Beautiful
    I'm shaking my head over the few negative reviews of this sweet film. Those reviewers are disgusted by its sentimentalism (because they're dead inside); they claim the stars have no chemistry (the reviewers must have failed chemistry class); they're made seasick by the handheld camera (if they think this is a shaky camera, the Bourne movies must give them seizures; I never once found the camerawork distracting); and one reviewer even seems outraged that this isn't a toe-tapping musical version of Animal House (seriously).

    They don't get that this film is not a musical in the Singin' in the Rain sense; it's not a romance in the usual sense; and it's not about grandly staged musical numbers or Oscar-caliber acting (though these non-actors are completely convincing and real).

    What it is is a simple, unabashedly sentimental story about two ordinary people who find each other, pour their hearts out in their music, form a special bond, and inspire each other to move on to the next phase of their lives. Maybe these aren't the best songs ever written (although one was good enough to win an Oscar), but they're passionately expressive and if you aren't moved by their honest power, if you're not charmed by all these good, decent characters, if your soul isn't lifted by the magic of people coming together to make music that's real instead of corporately manufactured, then you are to be pitied.

    Hollywood ought to sit up and take notice that this little film is more memorable and has more emotional power than any number of overblown, star-driven, $100 million dollar ego-fests.
    ...more info
  • Make sure you like the music, or be prepared to be driven crazy
    The characters in this movie and the setting give it the makings of a wistful little movie well worth seeing, in particular,Markéta Irglováe, as the girl is truly a revelation.

    BUT MAKE SURE YOU CAN LISTEN TO THIS MUSIC

    The first time the guy and girl sit down to do a song together, it seems pleasant enough. It's a bit histrionic and repetitious, but there is one good section of lyrics. But, at least for my wife and me, thereafter, the music was all but intolerable. It struck us as tedious, with lyrics that are juvenile at best. You hear much of the same song over and over and worse, every other song employs the same tortured singing.

    Well, the moral of the story here is that if you like small movies with not entirely predictable plots points and utterly decent folk as characters, this is a wonderful, four-star movie

    IF YOU CAN STAND THE MUSIC.

    Neither my wife nor I could and we have widely divergent tastes in music. Listen to the first song on the soundtrack at least three times. If you still like the song after that -- and like small movies, you will likely join the significant list of critics who raved about this movie.

    But if you can't listen to that song three times in a row. Watch this entire movie at your own risk. It may rank among the least pleasant experiences of this year for you....more info
  • Perfect !!!
    What a wonderful movie, filled with fantastic music !!! This is a true hidden gem, ... except for all the awards they won in Sundance !!!...more info
  • great movie
    I thought this was going to be a bad chick flick, but I enjoyed it. It's the rare type of movie that both my wife and I both enjoyed....more info
  • Magical Beguiling Wonder
    "Once, once
    Knew how to talk to you
    Once, once
    But not anymore" Glen Hansard

    The stars of this delightful film are 'Boy' and 'Girl'. 'Boy', Glen Hansard is a music maker who sings on the streets of Dublin at night for money and recognition. By day, Boy fixes vacuum cleaners in his dad's shop. 'Girl'is Margeta Irglova, a Czech pianist who cleans homes and sells flowers for a living, She, too, is songwriter but rarely has time. She has a small young girl and mother to care for. She has left her husband and is tyring to make a new life. Boy has lost the love of his life, she has moved to London. These two people find each other as lovers of music and start singing together. They form a friendship. They spend a great deal of time together and beside friendship they form a bittersweet love story. She entices him to leave his day job with dad and find the money to start a musical career. Their songs are about heartbreak. As AO Scott says," "Once" is far from a conventional love story. It is, instead, the story of a creative partnership that develops by chance and that involves a deeper, riskier bond than mere sex ever could." This is a film to see more than once. It is a lively story of making a demo tape. What, you say, is that all there is? Ahh, yes and more. We are left with a sad-happy feeling from this film. The songs make a marvelously delicious soundtrack and will resound in your memories.

    "That's it, a bittersweet love story with ravishing Hansard music ("Falling Slowly" is a killer) and the ache of romance in its soul. Nothing about this mood piece should work -- the budget is shoestring and the actors are inexperienced. But Once brims with small pleasures that pay major dividends." Peter Travers

    'Once' has an easy lovable charm that grows on us as we view this film.
    Highly Recommended. prisrob 05-24-08

    The Swell Season

    Once...more info
  • movie for anyone with a passion for music
    If you have a passion for music, this movie will strum your heartstrings. I felt so moved by the pure, deep, complicated friendship between the two main characters, Glen and Mar--a friendship born of musical passion, but restrained by integrity and virtue. And the music! I bought both the CD and the DVD, and even wrote my own song, prompted by the movie! Don't miss this movie, fine for all ages. ...more info
  • Excellent!
    The music C.D. is on my 'must have' list and well deserving of 'Oscar'. Though the musicians are the first to admit they weren't seasoned actors when taking on the characters of the film, they played the parts superbly. The story is 'soulfully simple' in its plot and there's not really any exceptional dialogue, but the heart of the lyrical tale is what makes you fall in love with the characters and their music. I loved it! I'll also be playing the grooves off the C.D. I also love any movie that helps draw a younger generation back to the magic of a musical.

    Chrissy K. McVay
    Author of 'Souls of the North Wind'...more info
  • Stunning, beautiful, music that grabs your ears and won't let go
    When I originally purchased this film, I based my decision on looking at the customer reviews; that's how I purchase almost any film nowadays (or anything else, really). However, I wasn't truly impressed with the movie, at least from previews, and thought it to be just another love story; it just happened to be well-written.

    The opening sequence, for lack of a better way of putting it, opened my eyes. I'd watched several musicals in past, and wasn't particularly interested in another, but Once came highly recommended, and the first song in the film proved why. I was simply awestruck by how powerfully moving all of the music was of the entire movie, and immediately purchased the soundtrack as soon as I could find it. I now have owned the movie and soundtrack for three months, and can't stop listening at least once a week.

    Glen Hansard has one of the most haunting voices I've known, and after having heard it on the soundtrack, I went out and got all of the Frames albums I could find. His range is one of the best I've ever heard, especially in Once. Marketa Irglova is wonderful as a solo singer/songwriter, as well as a duet partner, and I've so far found at least three projects she's been involved in. Both artists are incredible singers in their own right, but by including them both in this movie, someone has done something impossible: make a musical seem like it's a wonderfully felt story, not a production. I would easily say it's on par with Rent and Across the Universe in it's musical talent, and with Reign Over Me in simply how poignant love, loss, and renewal can be.

    The song that has the strongest meaning for me was "When Your Mind's Made Up", if only for the chorus, and how it conveyed the immediacy of demanding a decision on the part of the spurned lover. This is, of course, followed by the fan favourite "Falling Slowly" because of how you could feel the love of the singers through the words "Take this sinking boat and point it home / We've still got time" in the chorus.

    To close as best as possible, I easily recommend this film to anyone who wants a new movie to watch. I'm a guy, and stereotypically I don't watch "chick flicks", but this movie is more than that; it's for anyone who loves music, and how that music can affect their lives.

    It only took one time, but after having seen this film with someone I cared about, I'm convinced it's perfect as can be; it said everything I couldn't, simply because words alone can't do it.

    This is the best movie for anyone who can't find the words for what they know to be true, and especially for anyone who loves music and film. It deserves all the awards it gets....more info
  • a remarkable movie
    The acting, the plot, the filming, the music -- don't forget the music, are all WONDERFUL. This is a sensitive little film that represents the importance of human friendship, connections, family, commitment, love, and kindness in a well directed, well filmed and well recorded way. It's one of my favorite films. I was truly moved by this work....more info
  • Great romantic independent film.
    This is one of those small low-budget films that can stand on its own without fancy effects or scenery. It is a beautiful relationship story with a fantastic soundtrack. I especially enjoyed the scene with the vacuum--you just have to see it for yourself. The true-to-life relationship reminded me of another great indie film, Time and Tide. The two actors have phenomenal voices so if you need another reason to see this movie, the music should be it. An excellent choice for your next date!...more info
  • Spoilers Below
    Once is another movie that my friends got me really excited to see. (Previously, I had been told that Reign Over Me was better than a ten point scale could ever express. Big disappointment).

    First off, I hate musicals. I say this never having seen an entire one. That being said, this is not the type of musical that has actors spontaneously bursting into song. Rather, it almost seems like a documentary on a songwriter.

    By this, I mean that Once really gives an excellent feel of Dublin and its locals. When they are singing, it isn't because they are in a movie that is a musical; instead, it is because they're all... well... musicians. Each time a song is played, it seems extremely realistic.

    Therein lies an interesting part of the movie, though. Even though the singing seems very natural, it also serves to develop the story -- not by explaining plot, but by explaining the history and feelings behind characters. This can be tough, because you're almost obligated to try to decipher the songs. As soon as I started just enjoying the music without trying to comprehend lyrics, I thought -- shoot! -- I'm missing dialogue.

    The initial meeting of the guy and the girl is awesome. The actors (or musicians) truly click, and the viewer sees what could be the start of any romance in any other Hollywood flick. The not-quite-romance is a joy to watch begin. But, it never seems to get past this initial point.

    If one of the movie's taglines is in regards to how often you find your soulmate, then I really wish that point had been pushed harder. While they were cool to watch with each other, I never got the sense that the guy and the girl were meant for each other. For whatever reason, in my mind, I was comparing the couple to the couple in Good Will Hunting. In that movie, I really got the sense that Will would have fought for his girl. Not in Once. Maybe with some expanded run time, this could have happened.

    Oh -- I thought of a better example. Johnny Cash & June Carter in Walk the Line. The initial meeting is just as cool as the one in Once, but the viewer really sees the relationship develop into something where both Johnny and June are willing to fight for one another. In Once, honestly, I just feel like the guy and girl are wondering "what could have been," instead of pursuing being together. Maybe that was the point of the movie.

    All considered, Once is definitely worth a watch. Rather than watch it again, though, I would be more likely to listen to Glen & Marketa's album (which is called The Swell Season).

    Once Rating: 79 / 100
    Subratings:
    Acting: 6/10 -- I realize they are musicians first, actors second
    Music: 9.5/10
    "Feel" of the movie: 9/10 -- I really enjoyed the documentary-ish feel of the movie...more info
  • Trite Mediocre Garbage
    Boring, slow moving with no screen chemistry, poor acting, and miserable meaningless "music". The storyline was poor and unimaginative. Are so we so used to mediocrity in this culture, we actually believe drivel like this has value? I am afraid so. ...more info
  • exactly what I expected
    If you like the movie, I'd suggest buying it to anyone. It's more awesome every time I watch it!...more info
  • BRILLIANT!
    You've read about the story so I don't need to go into that. I just watched it for the 3rd time and each time it makes me smile. And the quietly effective performance of Marketa Irglova gets better and better with each viewing. Just saw their Swell Season concert and was WOWed by the live performance. They are so worth listening to and watching. Also from the film, I went to the website of the other Irish band in the film, INTERFERENCE. Bought their Live in Dingle CD and am equally WOWed by it. These Irish lads have kept themselves a secret far too long. Also bought SET LIST cd of The Frames (and 3 of their other CDs). These guys are brilliant, too! It's the band in which Hansard is the frontman. Set List is a live recording and the audience loves them. Buy them all....you'll love them, too. Best thing to come to America in years and years!...more info
  • Cliched
    This movie is slow paced, cliched, filled with bad music and has an unsatisfying ending...How Roger Ebert could give this a good review is beyond me....more info
  • Sweet and touching
    Sweet and touching. When making this film about singers and composers, the director had the choice of choosing actors who could be taught to sing and compose, or singer composers who could be taught to act. The director thankfully made the second choice. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are wonderful, sensitive and alive singer composers whose creativity and heart come through over and over. This is a very sweet and touching film. Buy or rent it today. ...more info
  • Simple and amazing
    This was a wonderful and original movie with amazing music! I would have ended the movie differently, but that's just me!...more info
  • Once Again Please!
    Great great great independent film! This award-winning movie inspired me in a way that no movie has in a very long time. I highly recommend this film (and it's amazing soundtrack!!)...more info
  • Wonderful
    A very refreshing movie. The girl doesn't hop into bed with the guy within the first couple of minutes of the initial meeting. A very good movie that is about respecting yourself and others. Fantastic music! ...more info
  • Bravo!
    If you're the type of person who is bored by the sunrise or find the moon lacking, this is definately not your film. However, if you love music, or love falling in love, or love life, at all, this is a gem. Low budget, beautiful lyrics, excellent cast and direction. ...more info
  • An Unforgettable Film
    An Irishman (Glen Hansard) in Dublin is a vacuum repairman by trade, but musician by heart and he plays his songs on the streets. There he meets up with a Czech immigrant (Markéta Irglová) they strike up an easy friendship over their love of music and of course, a broken Hoover.

    Over the next couple of days they share their music, write songs together, and then eventually record an album. All the while they are building a friendship that borders but never crosses to romance because of his love for an ex and her rocky marriage.

    The music was written and performed by the actors and the result is magical. As I sit here typing this review, the songs are happily playing in my head; memorable melodies and haunting lyrics. The credits had barely started rolling when I hopped online to order the soundtrack. He plays guitar and has a voice that is sexy and powerful. She plays the piano and has a voice that is sweet and angelic. Together they are superb.

    There is something so sensual about really good music, the way every note and word can touch every inch of your soul and take over your heart. I was literally moved to tears by a few of the songs in this film, not because they were sad, though some were, but because they were so beautiful, so perfect.

    Every ONCE in a blue moon I will watch a film that will captivate me from the start and stay with me long after it's over. This is one of those films. It touched me on so many different levels and evoked so many different emotions and thoughts. I will watch this movie, listen to its soundtrack, repeatedly, and never tire of it, because it's just that good.

    The storyline is bittersweet and eloquent; a modern day musical about two people at a crossroads in their lives when they meet. Each one gives the other one the shoulder and the shove they need to get on with and get what they want out of life. A simple, but magnificent film with amazing music and actors; the result is unforgettable. Brilliant.

    Cherise Everhard, April 2008
    ...more info
  • A wonderful movie
    "Once" is one of the best music related movies that I have seen in quite a while, A wonderful story about two stuggling singer songwriters who find a chance to pursue their dreams in Ireland, The film has a wonderful low budget, independent feel to it, and while it has no big name actors, The actors are really musicians, the performances are excellent, and the sometimes awkward chemistry between the characters makes for a wonderful story, and the music is beautiful, the soundtrack was one of my favorite CDs of 2007 and the song"Falling Slowly" easily one of the best songs of 2007....more info
  • The Luck of the Irish
    I loved this movie. It's a very sweet story full of charm, humor, wonderful music and well-meaning people who give due consideration to life's problems and come up with practical, moral and uplifting answers. So what's my problem? I'm Irish, so please don't think I'm prejudiced. It's just that this is a movie I would love to share with my children and other dear family members, but... the language is of the sort I would be washing the kids' mouths out for repeating. It's just so bloomin' Irish. If you don't have any tender young ears around, it might be just the thing for you. ...more info
  • ONCE Upon A Time!!
    I want to start out saying ONCE upon a time because it might have fairy tale qualities but it also seems like something that really could happen. You don't have to check the rational side of your brain at the beginning. You come away thinking, that really could have happened in life. Glen lives and works with his widowed father who owns a vacuum cleaner repair service. He has also just broken off a romantic relationship with a girl who is still living in London. He wants to be a full time musician and in his spare time he plays in the downtown area on the streets of Dublin. Marketa and her infant daughter live with her widowed mother in a small apartment. We learn she is estranged from her husband (still living in the Czech Republic) and it just wasn't working out. She sells flowers and other small items on the streets to support her small family. They meet on the street when she listens to one of his songs and strikes up a conversation. She, too, loves music and 'borrows' a piano at the local music store during lunch because she can't afford a piano of her own. They find they have a shared passion for writing and creating music. A relationship starts to develop. Where will it lead? Is it more than just music? Is this the ONE chance for both of them to fulfill their dreams together? Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune says, "ONCE may well be the best music film of our generation." [...]...more info
  • Close to Perfect
    With its journalistic filming and the amazing songwriting of Dan, this is by far the best movie we've seen in awhile. Not only did I watch it twice yesterday, but I just now purchased the soundtrack and the roads outgrown.
    I actually cried at certain times in the movie, the songs were so lovely....more info
  • refreshing
    It's so hard to find a movie that both my teen-age/young adult children love, too ! We enjoyed the music and the relationship between the main characters........not your predictable outcome.















    ...more info
  • A treat!
    From the hilarious opening scene, which is quintessential Irish humor, this movie delivers. I love the characters, I love the music, I love the feeling of being in Dublin (not the romanticized tourist Dublin, and not the bleak anti-romantic Dublin, but the real Dublin as it is today). The ending is a delightful surprise, and the movie has leaped ahead to my all-time favorites!...more info
  • Simple, heartfelt. I love these characters. A lot.
    I did not have high hopes for this film. It is mercifully short (85 minutes), which almost merits a star by itself -- filmmakers today cannot just tell a story and be done with it. They think they must add layers and drag it on for over two hours.

    The movie opens on a street corner somewhere in Ireland. A guy with a guitar is playing his modern folk tunes (what we'd now call "indie music") with his guitar case open for tips and contributions. After an altercation with a druggie who tries to steal his guitar case, cut to the nighttime, when he is wailing out a very personal song of woe, strumming loudly and emphatically. A young woman walks up and throws ten pence in his case, asking him if he wrote the song. An acquaintance is struck -- she is a Czehk immigrant who sells flowers on the street and does domestic cleaning. He's a vacuum cleaner repair man by day, working in his Dad's shop. But they both love to sing/play music, and dabble in writing it. Over the course of a couple of weeks, they work together to flesh out some songs he's written and record them, as the guy starts moving seriously toward trying to make it in the music biz.

    This film is one of the most charming things I've seen in years. It is a small film, a simple story about simple people with dreams, struggling with heartache and poor circumstances, who create something together, and in the process learn a bit about themselves and find a sudden, new, and deep friendship and love. It is amazing how authentic and real it comes off, amazing because this was a tiny movie, probably shot on video instead of film, cheap to make, with unknown actors. Yet Hollywood cannot seem to make a film that takes the audience into a friendship with living, breathing, real characters that you can't help but have immense affection for by the time the final credits roll. I can't say it never happens, but usually I'm painfully aware of contrivances and manipulations, poorly disguised.

    The central theme of the movie, the core around which everything revolves, is The Guy's songwriting and The Girl's collaboration with him in creating and performing it to make a demo recording. It is not really my kind of music. It is the music of simple feelings, performed by people who do not have perfect, trained voices. Forgive my Irish, but I'd call it "sad b*stard music," because it's about heartache and longing and misunderstanding and reaching out for connection and love. The melodies are sometimes pretty, but it's main virtue is that it is sincere, if not often very poetic (by my standards). The great thing about it is that you can believe that these characters could write these songs, because they aren't that sophisticated. (Unlike the recent August Rush, where a child who has never played an instrument suddenly becomes a performing and composing prodigy. Talk about a leap.)

    And that's what stands out about this movie. Sincerity. Hard to find in a modern motion picture. I may not watch this multiple times, but I found it very moving, in a positive way.

    There is some bad language, perhaps authentic, but totally unnecessary. This could easily be redubbed and turned into a PG or even a G film. ...more info
  • Quite Excellent, well worth watching more than once
    The cover quotes a prominent Chicago Tribune reviewer as saying this may well be the best music film of our generation. That alone made me expect it to suck. But guess what? I agree with the guy.

    Now I can analyze why, or I can quote the back cover, or I can do both. But those words would probably make you less likely to watch this gem, not more. So I'm stopping.

    I think it's excellent, like it says in my review title. And that's all I can say....more info
  • A true muscial in every sense!
    I loved this movie which is driven by fabulous words, music and relationships. The music and songs blended perfectly with the script and enhanced our emotions. I could feel the joy, pain and everything in between.
    I was appreciative of the effort to develop and grow each participant for their own sakes. Boy and Girl did not end up together, which would have been very cliche, but ended up where they wanted and perhaps needed to be. What is wrong with that?
    I loved the father/son interplay. Although a small part it was telling of the character of the boy and a big credit to the generosity of the father.
    All in all, a great movie and proud to add it to my collection....more info
  • A "Must See" Movie
    I originally rented this DVD from my local video store and after watching it twice and watching it again with the director's comments I knew I had to own this movie. It's a beautiful little movie that everyone should see. Congratulations to Glen and Mara for receiving the Academy Award....well deserved....more info
  • A charming gem
    This is definitely a very charming movie and gem not to be missed. However, I would not encourage this for those looking for a "musical" or a sappy romantic film. It follows the path of an young Irishman still feeling the pain of loss from the breakup with his girlfriend. A young Czech immigrant encounters him playing guitar on the streets of Dublin, befriends him and they build a bond centered on music and their passion for it. I won't give away any more details aside from that basic plotline.

    Suffice to say, all aspects of this film fit together perfectly. The film is shot in a very low budget fashion, capturing both the grittiness and revival of Dublin. The acting is first rate, both lead and supporting cast and the music is both a perfect complement to the characters relationship and the overall tone and feel of the filmmaking. And most importantly the film doesn't follow deliver a contrived Hollywood ending.
    ...more info
  • An Exceptionally Well-Done, Enjoyable Movie
    I want to add my applause for Once. It combines an enjoyable movie with stimulating music. The story revolves around likable, believable characters struggling through lives teetering on brokenness. They suffer from the pain of hurtful, neglectful loved ones yet they are pressing on and fighting on and finding strength and expression in their music that nobody has seemed to hear until they meet one another.. In the midst of their friendship, they create passionate, moving music and find inspiration for reconciliation and purpose.

    I think you will want to watch this one more than once....more info
  • Not your run-of-the-mill romantic movie, but very good!
    I rented this movie for one reason- I liked the song Falling Slowly that came out of it. I came across it on VH1 of all places and fell in love with his voice- and her harmony with him. Not your usual pop fare, I fell for the bait- hook, line and sinker.

    Winner of the World Audience Award at Sundance, Once tells the story of two young people who meet on the streets of Dublin- one a street performer and the other a foreigner who sells flowers to passerbys, both poor, both with broken hearts. His songs are folksie and brutally honest, but he only sings his songs at night- during the day he plays the songs the crowds want to hear. One night the flower girl stops in front of him very much enthralled by his music. When she finds he also works at his dad's vacuum repair shop, she drags her broken hoover out to him the very next day and follows him home.

    But first they stop for tea and it's there they find they have much in common, namely a love for music. When they sing together at a music store, there's magic, and it's through their music that they find the courage to chase a dream.

    This story is not your typical romance- they have too many obstacles to overcome- well, one big one on her part at the very least. But it's a sweet tale and I found myself smiling at different times.

    It is a quirky movie- it's a Sundance film, naturally it's quirky- and those looking for the run-of-the-mill romantic movie aren't going to find it here. In fact, much of the story is told through his songs, (MAN, do I love his voice!) And ... there isn't an obvious homogenized ending that American audience tend to crave. But, if you like your movies to be less than obvious at times- this ones for you, just as it was for me!

    (OH! This movie is rated R- but only because the Irish seem to drop the F-bomb like an adjective!)...more info
  • Movie ONCE
    This movie is filled with several wonderfull songs written by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Its plot is based around a noble friendship, but the video is just a little bit above average....more info
  • I don't get it
    I just didn't get this movie. It may be because of the cultural differences between America and where it was shot, but for some reason it didn't really make sense to me.

    The camera is really shaky and random clips seem to be placed together to form this movie; I'm a fan of indie films but this one can definitely be skipped....more info
  • Quiet passion.
    One way that you can tell this movie is both and independent movie and a foreign film is that the songs are performed straight through, are not shortened and the camera stays on the performers. It creates an amazing intimacy and power and really allows one to see the energy between the two main characters. Glen Hansard's passion while singing is wonderful. It's a quiet movie about love, loneliness and music. The two leads (non-actors both) give convincing performances. I believed they were the people they were playing. It's a happy, sad and touching movie. ...more info
  • ONCE
    Once is an appropriate name for a movie that only inspires the viewer to watch this film ONLY ONCE. I would actually recommend this movie less than Once. And this movie did require 4 attempts by me to sit through this entire movie in "ONE" sitting, making ONCE an unmemorable experience. If asked my opinion about "ONCE" I would respond by first suggesting other "B" movies, or at the very least I would suggest that they not operate any heavy equipment or drive a car if you can avoid those activities after watching this show. I do; however, have the ability to respond to those who might ask, and my answer will be...Yes, I did view this movie "ONCE", and I feel I received very little in return.

    g.bob...more info
  • Moving
    This movie literally put a smile on my heart. Honestly I had no expectations when I bought it since I like picking random movies but I'm glad my fingers came around at 'once.' The music now is just...mhmm well I have no words but for those who enjoyed it I'm sure you know what I mean since sometimes words don't do justice to our feelings. Share it with those you love ;o)...more info
  • I love this movie
    If you love music but not anything too commerical and over dramatized this is for you!...more info
  • great music !
    After watching the movie I fell in love with the music ...2 great musicians I cannot get tired of their music!...more info
  • Great Movie, Great Music
    I would highly recommend this movie. The music is amazing and the story itself is great....more info
  • Amazing story!
    My daughter and I saw this movie at a foreign film night in a local independent house and fell in love with it. We came right home and ordered in on Amazon.

    It is a sweet story of two musicians who meet on the street and are able to share their lives. In the end he realizes one of his dreams and she has a reconciliation of a broken relationship. The music is an added bonus.

    We have watched this movie a few times and enjoyed it each time. When it showed up on the Oscars we were surprised. ...more info
  • Once
    I was expecting a much better love story with what was written about it. It was terrible! Then at the end we were waitin g for the end and there was none. Wouldn't recommend this to anyone. Also very hard to understand at times. ...more info
  • love, life, and beauty
    When you reach a certain age, romantic comedies have no ring of truth to them. This movie is different. It is about shared passion - musical passion - shared loss, shared friendship - and unrealized love...because adults cannot usually indulge in love.
    This movie acknowledges the pain of love - and still makes you want to go for it. It is real - and really - what more can you ask of a movie?...more info
  • sometimes when passion and beauty collide, it makes me weep
    I KNEW FROM THE FIRST SCENE THAT I WAS WITNESSING TRUE ART AT IT'S FINEST. A PAINFULLY BEAUTIFUL DEPICTION OF HOW BEST TO DEAL WITH THE ONE THING THAT NO HUMAN BEING CAN EVER AVOID, A BROKEN HEART. THE WORLD NEEDS MORE OF THIS AND LESS GORE AND GUTS FROM THE PHONIES IN HOLLYWOOD. THIS GET'S BACK TO THE BASICS OF MOVIE MAKING , NOT JUST TELLING A STORY BUT ACTUALLY INFORMING THE VIEWER FAR BEYOND THE ABILITY OF MERE WORDS READ FROM A PAGE. F***ING BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...more info
  • How about NEVER
    The only reason I am giving this 2 stars instead of 1 is for some of the music. I did enjoy a few of the original songs, but in no way thought they were Oscar worthy. The movie itself is boring and goes absolutely nowhere. I agree with one other review here when the said "I just didn't get it." What was the purpose? I kept thinking it was going to get better and then it just ends...sometimes Once it too much....more info
  • intimate, romantic drama from Ireland
    I would call this a romantic drama....the story is for the most part autobiographical, as the 'actors' are actual musicians and are actually in a real-life relationship. The story is basically this: two struggling musicians meet each other and fall in love. What makes this movie different from most is the genuine chemistry between the two and the great music they create together, as well as the age gap they have (he's 37, she's 20). The plot of the film moves along well, and the viewer really cares for them as they grew in their affection for one another. This is a must see, and the soundtrack is outstanding as well. You will enjoy both....more info
  • Once
    I love this movie. No special effects, no violence... Just a very nice story. The music is passionate and terrific. ...more info
  • Once is enough
    I bought this movie after falling in love with the song and seeing the video. I was not impressed with the movie though. I enjoyed most of the music, but I expected to see a movie NOT a musical. The copy that I bought froze, which hopefully was just the copy that I purchased. The movie seemed to drag out and left the viewer waiting for something to happen. I also found myself changing the volume throughout the film because of the inconsistency in the recording. Once was enough for me and I LOVE independant films especially when they center around the UK....more info
  • Every ONCE in awhile...
    This powerful romantic drama is so heartwarming even a loving man (like me) can submit a solid "5" for this superb piece of life...reality. If only more of us could treat our family and friends (and our husbands and wives) with the love exuded in this film, we'd be able to sing the old Beatles' song "All You Need Is Love" in past tense. Take the one you love by the hand and watch this film...candlelight...wine...and...and...you figure it out. Don't miss this one...even if it's only ONCE!...more info
  • The best movie of 2007!
    I read a review about this movie last summer and made it a point to see it as soon as it was released on DVD. First of all, this movie is very raw and the fact that the leads are not really actors, you feel as though you are watching something real. The two leads are obviously well suited for each other both on and off screen, just look at the way is looks at her, it gave me chills! Not to mention the music is awesome and Glen Hansard is such a fantastic musician, I immediately downloaded the soundtrack AND some of the music he did with The Frames. Any award this movie won was well deserved! Buy this DVD, because if you rent it, you will go buy it anyways to watch over and over!!!!...more info
  • Small Film, Great Performance
    This is a story of a street musician played by Glen Hansard in Dublin who has let a breakup with his girlfriend send him into a type of depression. He meets and develops a friendship with a Czech immigrant played by Markéta Irglová who sells flowers on the street. They both share an interest in music and she is the catalyst that awakens him so that his life and music can begin to move forward.

    This is a new type of romance film where the music is not only great, but is also the star and tells us the story. The music itself is a lead character in this movie. This newfound friendship is the motivating force in pushing his music career. I like that the movie also gives us a small glimpse into the creative process of the music.

    It is hard to believe these two are not actors for they were so natural. It may be because they are musicians, so they were just acting naturally. This low budget film but the chemistry of the two main actors and music make it a must see film. I cannot remember the last time I bought a CD, but I will definitely consider buying the soundtrack to this movie.
    ...more info
  • Great Movie
    i'm going to make this review simple. I wish everyone could see this movie just to find out how special it really is. Truly one of the ten best films of 2007....more info
  • When Music and Love go Together
    There are many movies that have been made that portrayed the delicate yet simple blend of love and music. Some movies exaggerate it, and some are just bland. Once is movie that portrays that blend to excellence, if not perfection!!! The story, the dialogue, and most of all the music, all go together in harmony, thus making Once a truly remarkable film!!! A film like this comes along very rarely...Then again, one could say this kind of film comes along, only ONCE......more info
  • An Unusual Love Story
    Once is an unusual love story that avoids all the clichés and conventions of the genre. This is a tiny movie (made with a budget of $100,000) that follows two struggling musicians who manage to connect in Ireland and who inspire each other. The music is amazing, as is the acting, which is particularly impressive considering this is the first movie job for the couple in the lead roles. Just beautiful.
    ...more info
  • Best Soundtrack In a Long Time
    I viewed this movie for the first time last night, and I was overwhelmed by the uniqueness and beauty of the music in this film. I went out and picked up the soundtrack today, and know I will listen to it many times in the coming months. Thanks to those responsible for creating this music! It is truly beautiful....more info
  • A slice of something different
    Two people connecting over music. Doesn't sound like must of a movie. Yeah I was wrong about that one too. I'd summarize the plot but I just did. Nothing different or out of the ordinary, but it is a real film that puts a smile on your face. It even looks real and is shoot in that "grainy" style. The songs are gorgeous and you find yourself leaving your worries behind and digging the flick. The ending is sweet and unexpected. Its amazing to see an accurate portrayal of...well...I wouldn't even call it love, but connection. Falling slowly is a song with so much sweetness and texture that you just gotta love it. Love it or not, but you have to respect song, emotion, and realism of this sweet little movie. Enjoy...more info
  • I think I'm on to something big...
    First, let me disclose that I'm a 48 yr old female. I picked up this (then obscure) movie -- and put it back down again -- a good 3 or 4 times in the video store before finally renting it. And thank God I finally did so. We watched the rental three times (never do that) then bought the DVD.. then the soundtrack.. then their other CD (The Swell Season).. then 'The Cost' by the Frames (his other band). Then came the awards.. Indy Spirit, Oscar. Seems I'm not the only one who had Fallen Quickly in love with this music! Glen Hansard's voice reminds me of Dave Matthews/Cat Stevens and Richie Haven's all in one. Marketa is just delightful. I can honestly say there isn't a song between all 3 CD's that I don't love or at the very least like a great deal. Today I scored tickets to see them live! Once is hardly enuough for me! ...more info
  • Twice
    A lovely little film, Once. A film made for $100,000 can be enough to shame the Acadamy Award's finalists. The singing was great. The bittersweet love story had just the right touch. Congrat's for best song!...more info
  • This movie is perfect in every way
    I recently bought this DVD after renting it from NetFlix. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and I thought it was perfect in every way. "Once" adeptly incorporates musical numbers into a drama of unrequited love and artistic triumph. It tells the story of a street musician (Glen Hansard) in Dublin who is depressed following a recent breakup with a woman he loved. He develops a friendship with a Czech immigrant (Markéta Irglová) who shares his interest in making music. The story is rather simple, but the genius of the film is the way the song numbers reflect how the two feel about each other. I can't wait to watch it again, and to hear the songs!...more info
  • The movie I missed
    I missed seeing "Once" at a theater in my area, and having read reviews of the movie, I ordered the DVD. It's as good as I thought it would be and the music is wonderful. I also ordered the CD, and listen to it often.

    Judith McCarthy...more info
  • Stuck on the brain -- Once is a *gem*
    I won't make this complicated or pretentious. This is a fantastic movie without a lot of frills or flair. I don't consider this a musical, it's a movie wrapped in touching, heartfelt music and lyrics which will adhere themselves to your soul before you realize it.
    I didn't know what I was getting into when I picked up this movie, but it definitely left a warm glow behind.
    Definite 5 stars....more info
  • This Remarkable Movie changed my Life!!!!
    Don't miss this movie. We are a musical family, performers, song writers, etc., and this movie touched us all....more info
  • Recommendations for similar films
    "Once" is such a lovely film... We finally sat down to watch it and, like so many others, were enchanted by the odd, intangible chemistry between the two lead actors, and by its fascinating glimpse into the creative process.

    If you enjoyed the film's presentation of how music is made, and how creative people collaborate, there are a couple of other films that come to mind that capture some of the same vibe. One is a bit silly, teh other is more profound:

    "Music And Lyrics," with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, is the silly one. I really liked even though it's so fluffy -- but the scenes where they collaborate on the songs are key to their characters and their relationship, much like similar scenes in "Once."

    "Tribalistas" - this DVD documentary of the making of the "Tribalistas" is utterly thrilling. The film features Brazilian pop stars Marisa Monte, Carlinhos Brown and Arnaldo Antunes and shows them recording an album from start to finish. If you liked the creative scenes in "Once," and wished there were more of that in the film, then track the Tribalistas video down -- it's one of the purest documents of musicmaking and creativity I've ever seen. Truly amazing. Anyway, that's my two bits. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide to Brazilian Music)...more info
  • Best movie no one saw
    This is not your typical Hollywood movie. The music is amazing and the acting very raw and real. It's not for those who like the conventional ending to a movie. It was a very decent (which was a nice surprise), inspiring movie. One that I will watch again and again. I have already downloaded the music from the soundtrack. ...more info
  • See It Maybe 'Once'
    Writer/director John Carney's charming little Irish musical "Once" gained steady critical favor since its quiet release into American theaters last year. Now with an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song (and win since this review was first written) its exposure has become more widespread, with its soundtrack selling consistently. Starring two musicians with scant previous acting experience - the Irish Glen Hansard and Czech Marketa Irglova - the film is acutely distinct in that its two principles write and perform the entire score themselves, telling the stories of their respective characters and how their lives intertwine.

    Emphasis on the value of dreams and loose nature of love imbues the plot, with an understated pathos informing the nature of the characters. In fact, Hansard and Irglova's roles are simply that of Guy and Girl so as to keep things universal. The film has a well-defined charm and niche appeal, but it also wallows in overly sugary romanticism and trite, self-congratulatory art. At least to a degree. If movies could be desserts, "Once" would be a creme brulee with its hard, crunchy surface of pure sugar and silky custard underneath - although it leaves a good taste, the film clearly take itself too seriously. Presentation outdoes substance.

    They may not be trained actors, but Hansard and Irglova are innately endearing with magnetic screen presence, amplifying Carney's story beyond its rightful realm. Because of this even their most whiney, pedestrian compositions benefit from their cinematic context. If this Guy or Girl were your friends in real life you'd probably encourage them and attend their coffeehouse gigs, yet you would also likely furrow your brow if they sold more than 100 copies of their latest demo. That is not to say that their music is of poor quality. It's not. But grabbing a guitar and howling at the moon about a love gone wrong turns stale pretty fast. Self-pity is not an art form in and of itself, regardless of the fickle taste of late 2000's record buyers. Only listeners with unrefined palettes will find anything offered here groundbreaking.

    The romantic subtext of the film is well executed because of the characters' clear mutual respect and understanding of each others' different walks of life. Irglova may be half Hansard's age, but that does not compromise the film's integrity. The Guy may be a cliched out of work musician with a job in his father's vacuum repair shop, busking the streets of Dublin in hopes of making spare change, but the way he meets the Girl is engaging and believable. The journey the kindred spirits embark upon never fails to entertain in spite of the tunes, which are mildly enjoyable at their best. No back button required.

    It is not the revolutionary musical masterpiece some have made it out to be, but "Once" is still worth a rental for those keen on romance or all things Irish. Ultimately it smacks more of cuteness than of high art, but what's wrong with that?...more info
  • A film for those who prefer "Juno" over "Enchanted"
    If you are in the mood for a gentle, endearing movie, then "Once" is a gem. Realistic dialog, believable situations, acting that is entirely natural (likely to happen when the leads aren't actors but actual musicians!) in a story that isn't forced. If you want a Hollywood fairy tale, this is not for you. It is a modern musical in that songs are used in their entirety and to advance the story rather than just being relegated to the background soundtrack; the music and lyrics depict the emotions of the leads and are the heart and soul of their relationship.

    Thank God for Sundance which lets independent films like this find the audience they deserve. While $20 seems a lot to pay for a DVD these days, given that the entire budget of the film was $160 K, I can't begrudge anyone associated with "Once" a bit of profit if it will help them make another film like this!
    ...more info
  • 5 stars for the movie, 3 stars for the DVD for Mac users
    The movie Once is excellent -- I can't recommend it enough. However the DVD isn't Macintosh friendly at all. The cover of the DVD prominently displays "Free Song". Once the DVD was in my computer there was no easily apparent free song. After awhile fishing around I found a readme buried several levels deep on the disc.

    It says:

    "PC users should find that the ROM content menu automatically launches when the disc is inserted into their DVD-ROM drive"

    "MAC users may access the ROM content menu by double clicking the index.htm file or by dragging it to their favorite web browser window."

    Once the Mac user finds the index.htm file (in another directory) and opens it in their browser, then clicks the download song link, it does not work. I found the song on the DVD in a .zip file, which when expanded can be dragged into iTunes. Though note that it is a PC .wav format, which only plays in the most recent versions of iTunes. From there it can be converted to an Apple uncompressed .AIF, or compressed .AAC or .MP3 formats.

    Nothing like making you work a bit for your extra!

    Again, excellent, excellent movie and a DVD that was clearly made with little, if any consideration for Macintosh users....more info
  • The best movie I have seen in a long time!
    A friend of mine brought this movie over to my place. Upon the first scene I was hooked. It opens up to Glen Hansard's character singing on the street in Dublin...and the song and the man capture my heart. Than walks in Marketa Irglova and the deal was sealed. This movie captures the energy of music, art, love and loss. I went directly to Amazon.com and purchased the movie and soundtrack. I had to have these songs in my collection!...more info
  • Once
    This movie is just outstanding. It, and Across the Universe are the two must watch movies of the year in my book. And it's not just me, one song in it is up for an Academy Award. Well deserved too. Didn't realize at first that Glen Hansard was in the Commitments. He was a minor member of the band, but boy, has he grown into a talent. And the girl, with that weird little Eastern European accent just charmed me. Quite a piano player
    too. You absolutely HAVE to see this movie....more info
  • A movie to love
    This little movie moved me and my husband in a way that few movies have. The story of two ordinary people who find each other and discover hidden talents in one another is beautifully acted and portrayed with an emotional honesty that is riveting. It is a real world love story, with real world problems and the music, even more than the script, tells the story and stays with you long after the movie is over. The inside look at how talented people go about their art in the real world makes most Hollywood movies look phony, contrived. Thankfully, the CD from the movie is lovely and helps rekindle the feelings of seeing it for the first time, but don't listen to the CD until you have seen the movie. It will spoil the experience!...more info
  • What's Less Than Once? Never?
    This movie is boooooooooooooring! It doesn't at all know what it wants to be--a musical or a comedy--but it fails at both big time!

    Because when I see a musical I want my feet to start a tappin' from scene 1, and that something that all the great musicals like Mary Poppins and other junk do. Also a musical like West Side Story knows how to tell a story and create memorable, unforgettable tunes, weaved around the story that is so great. I haven't seen West Side Story, but I understand the caliber of the film, trust me. But as far as the musical numbers in Once go, all I can say is: WHINY MELODIES and PUTRID HARMONIES! I know they say the musical is dead and there haven't been any good ones in about 40 years since Mary Poppins, but still they should try a lot harder.

    As far as the comedy part goes, this movie is no Animal House. What's great in Animal House is that it's a bunch of losers, but they're in a way treated like winners because we identify with them from the very outset of the film. Who hasn't felt like an outcast and wanted to start a food fight, or put a horse in a classroom, or sabotage a parade? I know I have. And John Belushi, at the height of his fame, was outstanding as the fat guy in Animal House. Also keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by Stephen Furst! Sure some may call it college humor, but Animal House has it all for everybody!!

    Basically the problem with Once is that it doesn't really offer anything, and it does not know what it is or what its voice is. I did not enjoy it, mark my words....more info
  • Once Is A Lot
    This is an almost perfect movie that seems to result from a syzygy; all the stars were aligned in its favor. Movie aficionados should know that the film was shot in 17 days on a budget of $160,000 and has, as of this writing, generated worldwide gross revenues in excess of $15 million. The director, John Carney, has little actual film experience, the star, Glen Hansard, is a non-actor musician, and the pivotal co-star, Marketa Irglova, was a 17-year old neophyte when shooting began. This tells you two things. First, there is an audience for smart, soulful movies with class that speak (or sing) up to their audience, rather than pander to its basest instincts. Second, a large production budget does not equal quality. This breathtaking gem was shot for the cost of the average Burger King commercial.

    As director Carney points out in one of the bonus features, there is barely a plot. (He) - a heartbroken Irish busker whose love has fled Dublin for London, encounters (Her), a practical and thoroughly charming Czech immigrant living with mother and daughter - and assorted cousins learning English by watching TV soap operas. The two form a bond that is grounded in their mutual love of music, care for each other's welfare, attraction that may or may not be romantic, and sheer loneliness. From the very moment they meet these two appear ideally suited to heal each other in very important ways.

    The film is so thoroughly immersed in music that it can be thought of as, "the first musical that doesn't make you want to stick your head in a bag of ferrets." The songs grow organically from the story, or vice versa, and never for a second seem forced. Once rests on the capable shoulders of professional musician and songwriter extraordinaire, Glen Hansard, whose lyrics, strumming, and singing are so intense and powerful as to be just short of unnerving - a big, brave talent. Marketa Irglova is the perfect counter-point for a man like this, she is small, precious, her piano playing is both careful and exquisite, and her voice is sweet where his is raw. There is magic in the meeting of these two, even the jaded control booth techy senses it as early on as the first track.

    Too many grace notes to mention even half of them. I was transfixed by the long continuous shot of (Her) in sheep slippers and dressing gown walking home from the convenience store late at night, singing her own newly coined lyrics to a melody penned by him. The broken Hoover trailing down the street behind them like a puppy on a leash was pure inspiration. Just when I thought the picture would twist into a predictable ending, it didn't, choosing instead something far more satisfying. This is not merely a movie to watch, but a movie to own, and remove from the shelf on bleak, rainy days, when you need to remember what love feels like....more info
  • For Once, a tremedous film
    I saw Once in a theater with my teenage daughter and we were the only people there. We laughed, we cried,
    we listenened, we watched. I had read a small, rave review in the New York Times some months before and also
    enjoy mvoies made in Ireland and England. I try to support independent films as well.

    My daughter and I talked and talked about the movie, purchased the music (which she now plays on the piano) and the DVD as soon as it came
    out. I'm pleased to say we've introduced Once to dozens of people who love it equally. I hope many more
    will see it....more info
  • Once's charm is its simplicity & truthfulness
    Once tells an exceedingly simple story with enormous charm and heart and without a hint of guile. Glen Hansard is an Irish busker, still suffering from a broken heart over a previous girlfriend. Marketa Irglova does various jobs, cleaning house and working as a street vendor. She's also a hauntingly beautiful piano player and when the two of them begin playing music together their growing connection is a pleasure to watch. There are no melodramatic Hollywood style plot points to hang the story on, just a natural evolution of the relationship between these two likeable characters.

    Once reminded me so much of my experiences and friendships in Dublin in the 90's that it gave me nostalgia pains. I didn't know these two particular people in Dublin in the 90's but I feel like I did. I feel like one - or both of them - sat down with me in some pub, cheap restaurant or drafty flat and told me the story of them. ...more info
  • Great music !
    I saw this in the theatre and loved it. If you like simple stories with great music and an actual plot I would recommend this movie....more info
  • Amazing guy and girl.
    This is a great movie. Well done. Specially as the main characters are not popular and experienced but these two are amazing... and their music too. i was really liked the first part of the movie and just realized that this man (Hansard) actually can sing and play guitar and its not a just a lip singing. I never heard of Hansard or that lovely girl until I watched this movie and the end of story I was curious to find out who they are and their music.

    Little disappointed about the end of story and just expected little more rich ending.....and another down side is lack of lighting and don't know whether it done purposely but it seems like low budget film.

    Overall this is a great movie, great story and Well done. I really enjoyed my evening with this guy and girl.
    ...more info
  • Once is Not Enough
    I am 50+ but this movie is as good as I have seen in a long time. A simple story told in a genuine way. Good pop music in a good indie venue.
    My friend, who knows music comparatively critically better than I do, says that Hansen here is a sell-out rich musician. This is still a great movie. I think stories told well, like Rogers & Hammerstein told with music and lyrics genuinely shared have at least as great value as anything BOLD and ALTERNATIVE as plain as heard here. Really great without the pretense that may follow from the purity from true critics as the genuine critical nod from better informed ears as my friend John. This movie rings true to me. ...more info
  • A Sucky Hoover Vacuum Repairman Follows His Musical Dreams
    With multiple film festival award wins (and a recent Oscar nod) and produced on a shoestring budget (in just 17 days), ONCE is an independent movie marvel. But this isn't what should draw you to it. The draw should be its quirky humor, its incredible music (nearly 2/3 of the film is entirely music), and its intimate portrayal of two people making music while forming a strong bond of friendship.

    The main actor and actress aren't even given names; there's no reason to as this Guy (played by guitarist extraordinaire Glen Hansard) and Girl (pianist Marketa Irglova) could be anyone off the street. Anyone with an incredible gift for music, that is. Both Guy and Girl work differing jobs than their hearts desire, Guy as a Hoover vacuum cleaner repairman and Girl as a house cleaner. But both have aspirations toward music, Guy more than Girl ...initially. Guy, on his off-time from the Hoover shop, panhandles on a street corner, belting out known songs during the day and his own at night (when no one's around). Girl discovers him and asks him why he doesn't play his own music during the day, and thus starts a series of events that speed this short film to a satisfying conclusion. I say "speed" in the sense of how short and sweet the film is, not because it is an action or speedy-type film in any way, shape, or form. In fact, if you were going to ding the film for anything, it would be its pacing. Sometimes achingly slow, the story nearly stalls at several points, but thankfully never falters completely.

    The music is what makes Once what it is, and rightfully so. This is a story about musical wishes and dreams, and how those dreams should never be let go of no matter what the circumstances. Sometimes it takes a wallop upside the head to get you back to your dreams, and Girl is exactly the smack Guy needed in order to accomplish his. Her enjoyment of his songs and her persistent requests to hear more and more from him drive Guy to higher and higher levels. Although much of Guys' songs are based around a former relationship gone sour, it is Girl that opens his eyes to the fact that he still loves his girlfriend and his music ...and this awakening is all thanks to a platonic relationship with a stunningly pretty Czech (Girl).

    Although Girl gives Guy what he needs, he too gives her something in return. Both come to understand how important their friendship is and what it will eventually mean to them, even should their dreams fail. Chasing after them no matter what the cost becomes all too evident as the film winds to a close.

    You can't comment on Once without noting its camera work, too. It is very amateurish, almost as if someone were filming an episode of Wayne's World (in Wayne's basement). But it is the amateurish nature that binds the audience to the characters. You feel like you are the camera, peeking at these peoples' intimate lives from behind this corner or through that window.

    And the music; it's impressive in the extreme, so much so it got nominated for Best Achievement in Music via the Oscars this year (2008), something of a shock for such a low budget film (much smaller than any previous nominee). Glen Hansard has "the voice" and his co-actress, Marketa Iglova, is no slouch either. Both are musical talents that can make you laugh one minute and nearly bring you to tears the next. And since over 60% of the film is music, that's a very good thing. In fact, for Once, it's the only thing....more info
  • Beautiful!
    Wonderful music and movie. I have watched it twice in one week! Sweet and lovely!...more info
  • Once
    LOVE this movie. could watch it over and over. Wonderful music so we play the CD all the time too. I'm hoping they win the Academy Award for their song!...more info
  • great movie
    one of the best movies I saw last year. Is similar to "The Commitments", but better....more info
  • Wonderful!
    This is the best music movie I've ever seen! A sweet, thoughtful movie that showcases the talent brilliantly. Unlike others that offer too much over-the-top glitz. Very well done!!!!...more info
  • Heart, Mind, Soul Engaging IF.......

    I've picked the DVD box up and turned it over at least ten times since the DVD release of Once. Finally I rented it.

    Once is not a film for mere observers looking for light-hearted entertainment. Instead it's one of those movies that requires an emotional connection. Unless you regularly watch foreign films, you might want to tread carefully because this film is very typical of the slower story telling pace. If you are looking for a love story and a date movie, you are likely to be disappointed. But if you love fragments of reality in literature, art and song, you may find Once very fulfilling.

    Once is a character study of two lonely people, both heart-broken in love, and by life. It's almost as if the camera follows them documentary-style through the humdrumness of their lives. But they spark as they connect over shared dreams -- music.

    There is a poignant heaviness that colors the film a little drab. The song lyrics weave brokeness through simple folksy flavored acoustic melodies.

    If you aren't certain, rent it before buying. Read all the reviews. If you hated Lost in Translation or didn't get it, Once isn't for you. If you hate dialogue, normal activities of daily living and little action, this movie is not for you. But if you seek the human condition and delight in rekindled dreams, check it out.

    One warning. It's rated R for language and the F-bomb is frequent flyer. Usually it makes cluster appearances during tense scenes rather than being peppered throughout.
    ...more info
  • Boring script, boring music
    This movie was an absolute bore. there was no chemistry between the characters...the music was long and dull. My husband slept through it and I fast forwarded through the "music." The characters weren't endearing. The best part was the scenery. ...more info
  • Captivating and beautiful realness~
    I had heard absolutely nothing about this movie. I was asked to watch it with a friend recently and it was the best hour and a half that I have spent in many months. The videography was exceptional and the characters were truly amazing and real. I love the beauty and inspiration in this movie. Any real musician will appreciate this story and any one that is aware that life is not a coincidence will understand and be grateful for the synchronistic values in the way this story plays out. The music is very refreshing and heartfelt....more info
  • The Moment of Creation
    This little film quietly sneaks up on you. The realistic portrayal of 2 people who briefly meet, flirt with the possibilities of romance, and then create music is not much of a story that would attract average American filmgoers, but if you let it take you there, you will be glad for the trip it takes you on. Set in modern Dublin, the film expertly captures the city and the role that music plays in the Irish heart. The music is absolutely astonishing and you will be amazed by the long sequence of music creation that is the heart of this film, and you might, as I did, be unable to get the tunes out of your head for weeks.
    Rarely has the creative process been captured as well as in this production. ...more info
  • Very well done
    I have to say, before I begin, that a great resonance of this film for me was the fact that it evoked my own musical past. A Boston-based musician "back in the day" (WAY back!) I lived many of the same moments as "He" does in the film.

    That said, this is essentially a boy-meets-girls story, the twist being that He and She are both musicians. But unlike most Hollywood-driven stories of this genre, the relationship is only a secondary focus. Rather, it is the music that is at center stage...and what music it is. Simple, real, and from the heart, it is the music and its development that carries the story forward.

    The two leads, He and She (for neither we nor they actually ever learn the characters' names) are played superbly by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, non-actors, but also real life friends and musical collaborators. He is played with earnest honesty (Hansard is essentially playing himself), and She is portrayed as whimsical, slightly ethereal, and strong-yet vulnerable. Yet the lack of a Hollywood ham-fisted touch is clearly evident not only in the low budget, almost documentary style of John Carney's spot-on direction, but also in the evolution of the characters' story. For while this is clearly a love story, it does not follow standard Hollywood protocol. Indeed, there is no seal-the-deal first kiss, no sex, and the two characters do not set off into the sunset together. Instead, they come together, enrich one another's lives, and then follow their individual paths...wherever those may lead.

    But this is not to say that the story or the film is lacking, for in place of the usual detailed unfolding of an intimate relationship to rivet the audience's attentions and emotions, here we get to witness the unfolding of the music, as "His" songs are slowly transformed from solo street ballads into remarkably listenable arrangements by a pick-up band of nameless street musicians...and recorded "simply because."

    It was in watching this unfolding that I was personally the most captured, because I have known the wonder Hansard perfectly captures and portrays as he first hears Irglov√° accompany him on one of his songs. I have lived the rush he experiences when his little accidental band suddenly transforms his solo efforts into something that somehow magically exceeds the limits of its own creation. And I also lived through looking in the mirror, as He does, and realizing that all of his musical efforts ultimately spring from a crushed spirit. While it is never explicitly touched upon in the movie, I wondered, as He goes off to apparently reclaim the track his life SHOULD have taken, whether he was wondering, as I did, whether his muse would leave once the hole in his spirit was healed and his heart was restored.

    But perhaps I am projecting too much of my own story on this wonderful film, a movie that people may read into, but which certainly needs no help in touching the heart, the emotions, and the soul. Well done!

    ...more info
  • oscars
    Just a quick note - "Falling Slowly" from Once has been nominated for a Best Song Oscar. I can't wait to see it performed on stage at the Awards show...I'm sure everyone will be blown away and likely embarrassed when some sappy Alan Menken song from "Enchanted" actually wins....more info
  • Terrific film
    Saw this at the theatre three times and felt compelled to own it. Since it's on Ebert & Roeper's list of the best 10 films of 2007, it looks like I have good taste....more info
  • Amazing!
    I saw this movie in the theaters by mistake actually, not knowing what was out at the time. My boyfriend and I absolutely were amazed by the story line and the music, it was simply moving and I had to order the DVD as soon as it came out. This is a must see! ...more info
  • LOVE
    One of the best movies of the year! Something both women and men can enjoy.
    The music is amazing.
    ...more info
  • Once - A piece of magic
    A pleasure from start to finish. No pretensions, a simple love story wrapped in seductive music....more info
  • great choice for music lovers
    A sweet movie about a guy and gal both great musicians who meet up and start playing together. I love the scene where they go into the piano store when they initially start playing together. Loved the music too....more info
  • Loved it - buy the soundtrack too!
    not a flashy Hollywood stars and guns and chase scenes fast paced film. rather, it is slow, gentle, peaceful, a great change of pace.

    loved it. ran out and bought the CD soundtrack the next day. the music makes the movie. the cute guy with red beard and lovely voice helps, as did the girl with the angel's voice.

    some of the songs so lovely I could cry. my man got board, but, I loved it madly. moments of humor, moments of way cool, and full of great music. if you like Irish, Celtic, Enya type music - you'll love this.

    get it. ...more info
  • Perfect pitch movie
    In an age where the big budget Broadway style musicals are racing onto the screen, it's a simple low budget musical that's the real charmer. Once looks like minimalist art cinema at first glance - hand held shots, documentary style film making. No elaborate stages, special effects or gorgeous technicolor that encompasses the modern musical.

    Rather, the film simply tells the story of a chance meeting between an unnamed man and unnamed woman who seem to share only a love for music and a lack of monetary affluence. Yet thrugh music, their aspirations seem to grow, as does their relationship. Despite the lack of grandiose compositions in the broadway fashion, the songs direct the course of the characters and are the cornerstone of the film, as it has little dialogue.

    Glen Hansard has been making music for years and has been featured on film in the past in the Committments, yet doesn't strike you as an actor. But it's the naturalistic approach of his and Marketa Irglova's performance that makes the film so great. It feels like we're feeling and following the passion of these two characters. Overall it's a lovely combination of filmaking technique, raw feeling, and an excellent enjoyable soundtrack that makes this film so great....more info
  • fine motion picture with lots of heart
    Once is an excellent movie about a touching friendship between a man and a woman simply named Guy and Girl. Guy (Glen Hansard) and Girl (Markéta Irglová) meet when Girl stops to listen to Guy playing songs on his guitar for money on the street. Guy and Girl form a singularly beautiful relationship and the plot moves along very nicely.

    Guy and Girl come to know each other very well in a very short span of time--barely more than a week. Girl wants Guy to pick himself up and realize his dreams. She encourages Guy to make recordings of his songs with a band for a commercial CD so Guy can have fame as a musician. Guy seems confused as to whether or not Girl loves him; and there's a very well done scene in which Guy asks Girl to spend the night with him but she leaves.

    Girl, of course, has her own issues. Girl, her mother and daughter are in Ireland because Girl's relationship with her husband didn't work out. Girl likes spending time with Guy; she likes getting attention from a nice man and she eventually helps him in his recording sessions.

    Of course, from here the plot can go just about anywhere. Will Guy and Girl consummate their relationship? Will Guy go back to his former girlfriend in London? What will Girl do to support her child and mother in Ireland? Is there any hope for Guy to make his CD a success? No plot spoilers here, folks--you'll just have to watch the movie to find out!

    The cinematography works so well partially because the hand held camera helps to set the thoughtful mood for this movie. The choreography works wonders in the opening theft scene and other scenes as well.

    The DVD comes with commentaries and a couple of interesting extras about how they made the film. Great!

    Overall, Once is a fine movie that people will enjoy if they like thoughtful movies about people and relationships in real life. Guy and Girl are not rich; and we see how they must work to support themselves while yearning to break free and be full fledged artists. The action moves along nicely, too. I recommend this film.
    ...more info
  • A refreshing splash of water in the face.
    Independent film that seems so real and in the moment. This is one film I could watch over and over. Great music and genuine characters who tell this story in a way to inspire love. It's the best and most genuine musical I have ever seen. You won't regret seeing it unless you're a total dork....more info
  • very good, romantic movie
    I bought this for watching on new years day after seeing it in several critic's top 10s for 2007. it was very different, definite independent movie-feel and had a lazy romantic story to it. i liked it alot and think i will like it more after watching it again. very unconventional, a great story....more info
  • Simple, Beautiful
    Simply put -
    This movie is superb!

    If you can't stand the traditional musical film/play genre, this movie is for you. It's so tastefully done!

    Broadway has its musicals (and I can't stand many..), but "Once" is a great film portrayal of the time leading up to making a splendid album. It also takes viewers along the path of friendship between two musically talented strangers. It feels so down to earth. I find this medium to be a fresh way to intertwine original music and film....more info
  • Once

    This is a film for romantics of every age. The music is gorgeous; the story is sweetly simple and poignant; Warning! The songs cannot be erased from memory; I may have to buy a cd for my car, as a great love of mine recommended. We're both 70, by the way....more info
  • Once
    My brother called me from the darkness of his local theater, as the credits were rolling ,to tell me to get into my car and find a theater that was showing this film ASAP. Scanning the movie listings I found that "ONCE" was only playing at two theaters in the NYC area...one of them was 25 miles away. Showtime was less than an hour away. My wife and I beat the clock as we settled into our seats in a tiny theater on the North Shore of Long Island some 48 minutes later. Lucky us as this film was a total treasure from beginning to end. The simple sweet gift of musical beauty delivered to you by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova will bring tears to your eyes and joy to your tired ears. Drop everything and order "ONCE" now........you will be glad you did. ...more info
  • Authentic and the music is good too
    I had a friend long ago who wrote songs. He was PHD candidate in chemistry. He played the guitar and sang his songs for my wife and me in his tiny little apartment. He was a quiet little guy with a goofy grin. He had twice as many brains than I did and was very shy, so it was surprising that he opened up to me and let me hear his songs. This movie reminded me of that time. The movie showed the openness and intimacy songwriters have in playing their songs for an audience. The hoover shop where the guy musician worked with his father looked like vaccuum repair shops in Iowa. The apartments were the apartments of people who lived by scratching out a living. The movie seemed universal to me. My favorite moment in the movie was the scene when the couple first played together in the music shop. I thought it was electric.

    The movie is about two lonely people from vastly different backgrounds whose music brought them together for a short time. I enjoyed it more than my wife did. She called it weird, but liked it. The movie was magical to me. ...more info
  • Wonderful Modern Musical
    This was a film with a good storyline and enjoyable music. It was a lot of fun....more info
  • Fantastic film . . . not to be missed
    ONCE is one of those rare really great films that comes along that just didn't get the attention it deserves. The music alone was worth the price of admission ... all original music by the actor/musicians ... and the entire cast makes the poignant story come alive with such passion and authenticity. The story is very real and does not take the predictable route you'd expect. It is filled with genuine emotion and heart that is extremely rare in movies these days, and the story and the draws you into the lives of the characters and enables you to like being there. The film is wonderful...not to be missed. ...more info
  • Rare film- a gem
    Great independent film. If you have not discovered Glen Hansard yet, you are in for a treat....more info
  • Brilliant, touching, and enduringly beautiful.
    My review title sums it up pretty well, I think. This is a brilliant concept in the movie-musical genre. The music is integrated naturally within the storyline instead of being imposed from outside. And what a wonderful choice, to have the actors be the very artists who wrote the music! This works all the better and makes for such touching and tender scenes because the actors were in the process of falling in love during the filming. There is a palpable chemistry between Marketa and Glen throughout, and at the end, you feel that you've experienced something truly rare, human, and beautiful. And what can I say about the music that hasn't already been said? These are gorgeously haunting melodies that will stick in your mind long after the movie is over. A couple of the songs, Falling Slowly and If You Want Me, are Oscar contenders this year.

    By the way, Marketa's character replies in Czech to Glen's question "Do you love your husband?" She says, "Miluju tebe." and then refuses to translate. So, he never knows what she said. You can look it up! This and some other plot details that I won't go into lead me to disagree with some other reviewers here who say this movie is all about "friendship." I think instead it's about something a little more complex....more info
  • Seeing it Once is not enough
    "Once" is the best film I've seen in years. This quirky love story wraps two interesting, engaging characters around their shared ambitions to create music and resolve the complications in their respective relationships. They are in love, but not with each other - yet their mutual affection is palpable. The music is powerful, emotional, and appropriate, helping to pull the viewer into story rather than getting in the way. Hansard and Irglova are convincing and charming - you'll be rooting for them the whole way.

    You'll want to see "Once" more than once - and you'll want to buy the soundtrack.
    ...more info
  • Musical
    Delightful! A musical with a difference! What a beautiful film about music and friendship. Love the soundtrack and performances of Glen and Marketa. Highly recommended....more info
  • My Favorite Movie of 2007
    This is a quiet little movie that sneaks up on the viewer and warms the heart like a smooth sip of Irish whisky. Upon first viewing you will be enchanted by the subtle story telling and honest performances of the cast. But upon successive viewings (and honestly... how often have you purchased a film that you've wanted to watch over and over again? This is one you will!) you'll notice added detail and hints along the way to the very satisfying conclusion. A wonderful film of depth and subtly with strong performances and of course an amazing sound track you'll want to listen to over and over again. This movie is for anyone who likes Music, Ireland, Love, and the complications and messiness of finding and keeping the right person. ...more info
  • Much ado about nothin'
    Here is a musical that is not really a true musical. A story about a singer who really can't sing. The main "song" that really is not a song but the same 4 or 5 notes repeated over and over like a funeral dirge. Cheaply made and it shows. Bad acting and bad singing do not make a great movie. One star for producers having the audacity to try to make a movie in 17 days....more info
  • I want more!
    I want more, more, more and ONCE more ......... I watched this movie last night and I'm still thinking about it. It's a marvelous way to tell a story of two persons who are looking for a chance to be and make other people happy. It's so simple that cause emotion inside our soul.
    Is there any chance to have a second part??????? I would love to see what happened........and more, more, more, ONCE again....more info
  • a uniquely beautiful film
    ****1/2

    "Once" is a story about a man and a woman who conduct a courtship almost entirely through song. Music being the primary medium in which these two individuals move through life, it is only appropriate that they should express their love for one another through music as well.

    Glen Hansard plays a struggling songwriter/musician whose recent, emotionally devastating breakup with the girl of his dreams now serves as the inspiration for most of his lyrics. Marketa Irglova is a young woman who recently emigrated from the Czech Republic with her mother and daughter to begin a new life in Ireland. She, too, is a composer of music, though she is less assertive and confident about exposing it to others than he is. The two meet on the street one night while he is performing one of his original compositions and they begin a slow, tentative relationship based largely on their mutual love of music.

    "Once" is a beautiful, lyrical and heartbreaking film that has understandably garnered a passionate cult following since its release in early 2007. It is an utterly unique and spellbinding work in which the music is every bit as important as the dialogue. The plot, though basic and uncluttered, still manages to throw a few curveballs our way in an acknowledgment that romantic relationships do not always work out in the way we`d like. Filmmaker John Carney keeps it as simple and intimate in his directorial style as he does in his writing, utilizing an unobtrusive and relatively steady handheld camera that nicely matches the rhythms and beats of the music playing in the background (and often in the foreground). The scene in which the camera, in a single unbroken shot, moves ahead of Irglova as she strolls along the streets of the city singing an original composition is one of the truly transcendent movie moments of 2007. And the music itself is lovely, flavorful and memorable - reason alone, I'd say, for seeing the film.

    In addition to their obvious talents as singers and musicians, Hansard and Irglova give performances of such poignancy and subtle emotion that they draw us instantly into the hearts of their characters.

    If "Once" reminds us of any film, it is probably the French classic, "A Man and a Woman," another work whose tale of romantic love was intimately woven through music (although, in that film, the characters themselves were not singing or composing works). That's not a bad template for a romantic movie, when you get right down to it.

    Since "Once" is a film that it is much better to experience than it is to read about, I suggest you try it on for yourself. You won't regret it. ...more info
  • Favorite movie of last year
    I can't get the music out of my head...it is my favorite movie of last year....it was so good...he was amazing...his music was so amazing....she was such a find that I think I want to take up piano again because of the soundtrack...I can't get Falling Slowly out of my head...it makes me feel like no other movie has made me feel all year.....I loved the story...wished it was a happier ending..but a realistic ending....i laughed and I cried....but I could listen to the music all day long...loved it....more info
  • See it at least Once
    This original, well-written and produced film is a warm story of a relationship that unexpectedly develops between two musicians. One of the best new films I've seen in years....more info
  • 100 Stars if I could
    I often watch movies, good, bad, I just want to kill time after supper or after sports before. But I haven't met a lot of good movies yet, in fact, zero, in my mind. To me the worst book I've ever read is better than the best movie I've watched. When I browse the Amazon bestseller list, I skip the movie category no matter what is hot in it. I was totally disappointed with these Hollywood potboilers. I hate wasting time in selecting-watching-being-disappointed format. I love music, I spend a lot of time on Amazon music section. As far as I can tell, since last summer, Once has been always in top 100, maybe top 50. But I didn't even try the sample, because I've never heard of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

    Yesterday, when I'm doing my routine browse on Amazon, the CD finally caught my eye. I clicked the link then found it was the music from the movie Once. I listened to the samples, then decided to watch the indie(though only 4.5 stars on Amazon, but the samples from OST added another .5). It's only 86 minutes, It won't take a long time.

    I didn't budge an inch on my chair during the movie, even the credits began to roll. I couldn't even believe when It ended. How can it end so fast, what's next? The movie is just incredibly beautiful, I know that foreign movies are much better than Hollywood's(Whale Rider, Pan's Labyrinth, the Sea Inside), this one is another find in 2007, I just don't know how to simplify my feelings.

    The story is simple, the friendship and chemistry between two main characters are convincing and touching, the performance was down-to-earth, no exaggeration, no special-effect of course, but full of warmness and sincerity. The music is passionate and delighting. So what else do you want for a movie about real life? Conspiracy? Ghost? Exploit?

    Please, drop everything and see this great movie.
    ...more info
  • A simple story, very well told, with sublime music
    A talented musician in Dublin has let himself go after his girlfriend left him for London. A beautiful Czech girl helps him to reignite his passion for life and music. It's a simple story, but set in a real world where nothing is as simple as it might seem. The music is brilliant (I would compare it to the work of Damien Rice, though I think the voice of the man in this film is even stronger), and pervades the film, making it into something of a musical with lyrics that express indirectly the feelings of the characters and convey details of their pasts and their lives that lends a richness to the simple connection that is obvious between the two characters. The acting is strong, and while the cinematography is not as lush or polished as in more expensive films, it is just right for this story, and puts the emphasis on the characters where it needs to be. A perfect musical romance that avoids cliche and hits all the notes just right. ...more info
  • If you are looking for Hollywood Great this movie is not it...
    however if you want something that is more intimate then check out Once. The acting isn't great, the music isn't even perfect and there are more directing problems than I can mention. That made up the charm of this movie though. I felt like I was watching a home movie made to show a moment in time of "guy" and "girls'" lives. They were real and with our hyper-entertainment real is boring for most but if you keep watching you will be drawn in. I loved the way that guy sang better at the end of the movie than at the beginning, girl inspired him and motivated him. That's what good relationships do, they make us better. The ending is not fairy-tale but I am so happy that they kept it a good moral ending, so unlike Hollywood where lust and passion nearly always takes over. I was left feeling rather melancholy, the music is haunting and stays with you....more info
  • So Romantic
    I thought this movie was the perfect blend of romance and reality. Ok, so most people don't break out in song every three minutes but the story was believable. The songs were sung with genuine longing. How do they do that?

    My husband thought it was ok. He would probably give it a couple stars. He said it was like an un-funny "Flight of the Conchords" episode. Ha! ...more info
  • You'll fall hard for this beautiful film...
    There's something pure about `Once'. Instead of taking the route of most films in this genre it steers away from the drugs and immoral clichés of musician pieces and focuses on the passion behind the music, the experiences and emotions that drive these two individuals to create beautiful music together. `Once' is truly a one of a kid film, a beautiful and mesmerizing musical journey that comes only once in a great while.

    The story told is that of your classic boy meets girl story (or `guy' meets girl story) where we are introduced to a young man who plays music on the streets for money and fixes vacuums in his fathers shop, as well as a young girl who has a broken vacuum and a love for music. They meet by chance but share a connection that no words can put into perspective for the audience. It's through their music though that their connection is made manifest. They are drawn to each other and we are drawn to them. They fall in love, but a love that is not like most experienced in the cinema today, this is a pure love, a love of character and emotion, a love of human beings and not carnal desire. This guy falls for this girl and she likewise falls for him because they share a common bond you don't share with just anyone.

    The film takes place over the course of a week where are two companions decide to make a record together. They buy the studio time, they rehearse and then ultimately they record their album. That is your story, but the story runs so much deeper than that. When I watched `Dreamgirls' last year I was fortified in my belief that singing can be the purest for of acting, but `Once' takes the feeling of `Dreamgirls' and carries it much further. When we watch actors (and real life musicians) Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglova sing their songs (songs they themselves have written) we feel every ounce of emotion. We feel compelled to respond to their calls, they pleads; their desires. We are taken deep into their souls.

    One thing to notice when watching `Once' is that neither our main actor or our main actress is given a name. This to me makes it all the more relatable. These two could be anyone in the world, they could be you or I or our friends. By not giving them a title other than `guy' and `girl' they become even more understandable and accessible. I truly adore this aspect of the film.

    As a longstanding fan of the Irish pub music made popular by the amazingly talented Damien Rice I was thrilled to see Glen Hansard do this film. His musical style is breathtaking and warm and he delivers a very strong performance for someone who is not a quote-unquote `actor'. Marketa Irglova also delivers beautifully. Both are very natural and convincing, portraying real people, no gimmicks or dramatized emotions. They add to the pure quality I mentioned on the outset. This movie feels real; it feels natural and graceful and in the end attains all my respect and admiration. One of the best films of the year, most definitely. ...more info
  • Best of 2007
    My favorite movie of 2007!
    This is a must-see. Absolutely simple, and that is what gives it such charm. Both "actors" are great even with no prior experience.
    Best soundtrack of 2007 as well....more info
  • Emotional tension through music
    Most of this movie is watching people playing music - so be prepared that you'll keep hitting 3-minute songs.

    For me, the movie was entertaining, realistic (non-Hollywood blockbuster), and the music was inventive, heartfelt, and sorrowful.

    A movie of this type is normally done as a "slice of life" without much of a beginning or ending, but this movie has some inciting forces, movement, and subtle closure.

    You probably need to be somewhat of a music fan to enjoy this movie, but I ended up watching it twice (which I never do) in order to follow the progression of the songs.

    ...more info
  • There's A Little Something More
    As I sat through Once, I didn't really know how to take it. I could barely understand the leading lady's accent. I didn't really know where the story was going. At the end of the film, I was dissapointed. Was that it? Were they not going to consemate their love for each other? Did they love each other? Wait, the lead characters were never given a name?!

    Maybe I was a little slow the night I watched it, but it took a little thinking afterwards to completely understand the movie, or at least take it the way that I did.

    The story of Once can be summed up by saying that Guy meet Girl and they make music together. That's what it was the second after viewing, but an hour or so later, I realized that their love was shown. It was shown the only it could have been shown, and that was through the music they made together.

    After it clicked for me, I smiled. John Carney has written a sort of forbidden love story using music. The interactions given by our leads, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, are near perfection. The whole vacuum bit had me sold for Girl.

    In the end, the whole tone of the film left a bittersweet feeling. I felt for Guy and Girl. I felt for the lack of their love. They'll always have their music. And great, great music it is. ...more info
  • Good movie but not "out of the top draw"
    I read really good rave reviews about the movie and I rented this DVD with a lot of expectations. I thought the movie was a pretty good movie with a good soundtrack. The acting was decent considering that their acting experience. I expected the movie to be spectacular but it was not in that league. Nevertheless, a good DVD rental....more info
  • once
    One of the best musicals I have ever seen, both original and top notch folksy/rock music with classical elements. Glen and Marketa are refreshing together and my whole family has turned into Swell Season and Frame fans to the point of attending their live concerts which are also awesome. This is the organic format future musicals should be using. An incredible first film. If only there could be a TWICE. ...more info
  • Multiple items, multiple degrees of performance
    I ordered a number (5 or 6) of items at one time. I followed your instructions and I was sort of surprised at how they shipped. Also disappointed in some communications (NOT WITH AMAZON). With concern for the timely delivery of items I agreed to multiple shipments, it seemed like each item came seperately. Might have made more sense to put into one box, maybe lower cost? Also tried to find out how to return an item you don't stock but the shipper chose to ignore requests for info on a return. At this point do not know if this has been resolved.
    My only suggestion would be to be more clear in your instructions and info on different ship dates for multiple itms. Ultimately I may just have misunderstood what you would do and when.
    Overall I'd give Amazon a B+ on this order, maybe even A-!
    Thanks for the opportunity. Fred Wordell...more info
  • The Underlying Theme is Friendship
    Friendship through music. This is going to be one of those films I know I'll watch again and again. Or at least I'll listen to it . . . the music is so good, it's haunting. Chalk full of emotion, the lyrics and both the male and female voices have a transcending quality that stops you in your tracks and insists you listen.

    The characters (guy and girl) are understated, modest, and very real. There doesn't seem to be any acting going on, but it's a little like a documentary. He, the guy, is a guitarist, a singer-songwriter, singing for his supper in the off-hours of his job as a vacuum cleaner repairman. She, the girl, is Czech, a pianist, likes his music and happens to have a "Hoover" in need of repair. He sings on the streets, she sells flowers on the streets. Their ultimate meeting is not remarkable, but their unlikely coupling as a musical duo is. When they first sing together, there's immediate harmony. With the girl as muse, they find their way down a musical path and as I watched, I felt that no matter what was going to happen, everything about the film felt successful. It had a hand-made quality to it that felt believable.

    Shot mainly on the recognizable streets of Dublin, it's all very Irish and utterly charming. Highly recommend.

    Michele Cozzens, Author of A Line Between Friends and The Things I Wish I'd Said....more info
  • No cliches
    This is such a breath of fresh air from the typical Hollywood programmatic, canned theme style. The reason it has gotten more interest lately is probably because it is easy to relate to. This film is very simple and has no big budget sets or halos on the characters. Sometimes you need to escape into fantasy and sometimes you need to see hope in the everyday challenge of living and being broken hearted. This is the latter of those two. A great film if you like seeing something real without the predictable bedroom scenes and dark alley stuff where the nice people get hurt. Great music! A film with substance yet no pretense of depth. If you hated the ending they added to the US version of the recent Pride & Prejudice, I predict you will really like this film....more info
  • Green, Irish, charming and musical
    A funny little Irish film on the birth and delivery of a music group and an album. It is the result of the chance meeting of a young guitar player singing in the street and a young pianist and slightly composer just passing by and listening. The meeting of the two, though starting on a bad foot: ten cents in the street for one full song and later his more than lame proposal though he knew nothing about her. He will learn later she is Czech, married, has a child and is living in Ireland with her mother and her child waiting for her husband to join them. In spite of that a collaboration becomes possible and a full CD is composed, rehearsed, recorded and burnt in time for him to go to London to work with some producers. He invites her on his last night in Ireland and she accepts but will not come and his only farewell will come from his father. On the following morning he goes away but stops in a music store and has a piano delivered to her. End of story: the piano is delivered and used with the finally arrived husband. Charming story in which artistic gifts and desires are not always expressed, do not always find their way to some audience, and may be completely wrecked by some horny or kinky illumination. But when art leads beyond this skin deep impulse there can be a way to some achievement. In many ways a good Irish hence catholic film in which Catholicism is some kind of morality that leads to a certain life style.

    Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
    ...more info
  • From One Musician To Another...Great Film and Music
    I was a bit sceptical when my girlfriend ordered this film on Netflix for us to watch thinking it was just going to be a complete "chick flick" but it was absolutely wonderful. It's not a "chick flick", it's an "Amature Musicans Flick". The film is so true to life about the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of an amature musicians who is just writing and singing from the heart. Especially if you've been severely hurt by a significant other as I have, so I could very much identify with Guy's lyrics as they are very true to the heart. There are three main reasons this film is incredible.

    1) The music. Simply put, the song writing in this film is incredible. Being a musican myself, I understand how the music industry works (been offered more than one record deal so I'm no stranger to the industry) and I don't see these songs as selling out stadiums, but rather having a strong underground following like a Dunkan Sheik. The songs are from the heart and very authentic. At first I thought the lyrics were toying with being cliche, but they are put together in a manor that they don't quite cross over and actually end up being quite amazing. They convey real feelings and real emotions in a way that is accessible for the veiwer to identify with and make them personal to their own experience. For the true musician, music is life and lyrics are your soul. I was moved to tears in the scene where the two main characters are in the music shop playing their first song together. Not only is it amazing to hear how they come together but the lyrics to the song truly hit home. All in all, great song writing and arangement.

    2) True to life interaction. The interaction between the two main characters is incredibly real to life. I had something similar happen to me with a girl that just heard me playing/singing one day and we were inseprable for a short period of time playing music together and what not. When you have the bond of music, it's a different type of interaction. It's like you truly know someone and can see their soul. You see that in the interaction between these two. No secrets because you know that they won't hurt you. It's just incredible and I think this film really captured that.

    3) The ending. The film truly leaves you wanting. I won't say how it ends for those who haven't seen it, but the ending is true to what probably would happen in real life and it leaves you with such mixed emotions.

    Definately a must see. ...more info
  • Great music...
    Dublin guitarist/singer-songwriter who makes a living by fixing vacuum cleaners with his Dad in a repair shop and singing and playing for money on the Dublin streets by night. A Czech girl (who sells flowers and cleans houses) happens to listen in and they get drawn together while they share their past lives. Enjoy great music weaved into a plot (which was fully expected to be predictable but turned out not to be exactly so). Movie beautifully portrays simple, at times awkward, but warm relationships between Father and Son, between Czech girl and mother/daughter and of course between boy and girl. Light inspirational story of underdogs dreaming big. Beautifully shot in Ireland. Loved it......more info
  • fantastic
    This is one of my favorite movies-- wonderful music and a really satisfying story that improves upon repeated viewing....more info
  • Once is not enough...
    I loved watching ONCE so much I know I will watch it again and again. The simple story of literally making music together is just the tip of the tale that blends brilliantly with the mesmerizing musical genius of Glen Hansard.
    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!...more info
  • Not what you think
    When I picked up this movie, I was under the impression that it would be a typical love story that my boyfriend would hate - aka 'chick flick'. This was SO not the case. It's more a story of a love of music and where that can lead two people. I was highly impressed with this film and it's documentary style. If you are a music lover, I recommend this film. You won't be disappointed....more info
  • wow, I can't stop the song playing in my head
    I really don't know why I picked this film up at the store. I seemed to recall that it was on the top ten list. I watched the movie with a smile and tug at my heart. I couldn't always understand what was being said, but I really didn't mind. The music is haunting and stays with you long after the movie is gone. I found myself enchanted by the beauty of the Girl. I thought I had never seen such a lovely woman in films for a very long time. The first duet at the music store is so natural and beautiful. There is a scene at the recording studio when the Girl goes off and finds a grand piano. The Guy comes in and asks her to play. When you watch this scene pay attention to the Guy in the back ground as he listens to the Girl sing. It is what is called acting. Acting at its most natural and is moving at the same time. I screamed at the ending. I knew that there could be only one ending but... it hurt when the Girl looked out the window and the the screen went black. You really wanted a happier ending but this is a honest movie so it had to end this way. I gave this film only four stars because I had trouble hearing what was being said, the accents were thick. However DON"T let that stop you from getting this film an loving it like I did....more info
  • Simple, yet profound.
    Although the movie itself was enjoyable, I had no clue of its concinnity until the last shot. An uplifting reminder that all types of relationships can be a gift. ...more info
  • Best Film I've Ever Seen! A real gem.
    If you are a musician, songwriter, or music lover, this film will touch you deeply. If you just love a good story stripped of the extra background junk so common in modern films, this one will touch you. For me, its the best film I've ever seen. The scene in the music store when they start playing together is powerful, the tension of their ambivalence about whether to get romantic is moving, and the time in the studio is simply magical. Can't wait to see John Carney's next film....more info
  • Please Understand why this pertains to musicians
    If you've ever hung out at the local music store. If you've ever carried around a beat up instrument, If you've ever longed for an instrument you couldn't afford. If you've ever felt most comfortable with people, who enjoyed the same music as you, this is definitely a film with which you can relate. I would agree, it's not Citizen Kane (ho hum), but it's definitely uplifting and honest. I played this on Christmas day and as the music unfolded, my relatives gradually congregated around the TV to watch and enjoy Guy and Girl. Smiles and Tears. Please buy or rent this film and experience what we found to be truly uplifting. "If your mind's made up......"...more info
  • Don't be put off by the "musical" tag. My teenage son loved this one as much as I did.
    While this movie is often termed a musical, I think that is a misnomer. Yes, it is a film about two musicians, one male and the other female. Yes, music does play a prominent part in this film. Yes, there is one scene (on a bus as I recall) where the guy breaks into song when describing the love of his life to the girl beside him, someone relatively new in his life. Yes, there are lots of band rehearsals and all that.

    But this isn't Grease or Hairspray or Les Miserables or even Sweeney Todd. It isn't THAT kind of musical. So I think the word doesn't do justice to the film. It is very watchable even for those who tend to hate musicals.

    The plot, such as it is, focuses on a guy who is trying to figure out what to do with his life in the wake of a breakup. Along comes a rather chatty young woman who hangs out with him and the two hit it off. I don't want to mislead the potential viewer so let me stress that "hitting it off" is not a way of saying there is high drama and passion.

    The delight of this film is that it is low-key, intentionally so (if you get the DVD be sure and watch what the director says about the film). It isn't meant to be a typical Hollywood blockbuster but more of a slice of life film.

    I loved it, absolutely,totally - as did my son. He liked the music a great deal, much of it vocal music. While I appreciated that, I also enjoyed the refreshing look at two people who were helping and supporting one another as they struggled to figure out how their lives had gotten off track - and where to go from there.

    I think that gives you enough of a basis to figure out if the film is worth viewing. I'd urge you to see it. If you want high drama or suspense or a mystery thriller then don't take a chance on it. If you are up for a good film, nicely done, about two people and the normal ups and downs of life (especially as musicians), you're likely to enjoy this. ...more info
  • That warm feeling inside
    I loved every second of this movie. I have given it as a gift to 3 friends. It is a terrific romance (even though they don't get together in the end...in the movie anyway). Every track is amazing, including the title track which only makes it on the credits! I saw them perform in San Francisco and the chemistry was just as amazing on stage. Amazing to think that these two are not even actors. Great film....more info
  • It's simplicity is Mind-blowing...
    Priceless! Apparently a few reviewing predecessors have totally missed the point. This is what the wonderful realm of Independent film is all about. Two simple, sad people meet, find a common bond in music, and go on with their lives. There are no statements to be made, no barriers to be broken down, no ambiguity to be studied...simply a lovely story about nice, simple people. The original music is fine, and the non-actors actually did a fine job. Truth be told, I only rented it because of all the awards it's received, and had to find out what the buzz was about. Independent film is definitely alive and well, and this is one the whole family can enjoy. UPDATE, 2/25/08: Perhaps the Oscar win for Best Song will help give this small movie a big audience. It's only nomination, it deserved to win. ...more info
  • Real life musical
    It's a hard knocks life playing music on the sordid streets of Dublin, Ireland. "Once" opens with clear proof of that as our protagonist, Guy (Glen Hansard from the "Commitments"), has to chase down a thief who's stolen his guitar case full of tips.

    But not all of Guy's encounters are so negative. By chance, he encounters 'Girl', a Czech immigrant who turns out to be a talented pianist.

    They form a friendship. Then they begin to perform together, which blossoms into a band and a CD. This is definitely not a romance. Guy's still trying to resolve an old relationship with a girl who left him and Girl's married with a daughter til near the end of the film.

    What "Once" is is honest dialog between two people about their dreams, their lives.

    All this and the music is wonderful as well. It's a folky-bluesy theme written by the two co-stars. What's interesting is that the music, like a character in itself, evolves through the film.

    "Falling" has received a great deal of radio play, particularly on my favorite Austin-based radio station. The song that made me laugh was "Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy". Now, that is an original title and very much real life. I'm adding the soundtrack to my wish list and if the spouse likes the film, I may well end up purchasing the DVD as well.

    Warnings:

    To me, both Guy and Girl are fairly easy to understand, but if you have trouble with accents, you may want to turn on closed captioning
    The "R" rating must be based mostly on language. If you have a serious problem with the f-bomb, you may want to skip this film; however, it really doesn't sound so harsh with an Irish brogue. ...more info
  • Cloying and Manipulative
    At Gitmo, one of the things the interrogators do to `break' prisoners is to subject them to prolonged exposure to songs from TV's Sesame Street. It turns out that even when it's designed to be benign or even therapeutic, being forced to listen to certain music truly is torture. Also at Gitmo, if a `detainee' tries to end his suffering by means of starvation, the U.S. military will force feed him so as to prevent this.

    'Once' is a force-feeding of folk music.

    The musical performances are characterized by an affected earnestness and a self-styled soulfulness. They are self-conscious without being self-aware: in other words, a pre-ironic mindset. Watching them made me uncomfortable in the way that one is uncomfortable when a na√Įve, sensitive, and bad poet insists upon reading you his work and asking for feedback.

    This film is photographed with a blurry, hand held camera, and to say that the script is minimalist is an understatement. It is possible to momentarily forget that this film is fiction, that someone scripted this. In my opinion, this is a deliberate cheat, a gimmick to conceal the thinness, corniness, and improbability of the plot.

    This is `The Blair Witch Project,' but with music.

    There is a sense of arrested development with Glen Hansard's character, a self-pitying 36-year-old still living at his father's house. It's creepy to know that when this movie was made, Marketa Irglova was just 18. The pair are reported to `dating' nowadays, and it is reasonable to suspect that the relationship was probably not `platonic' when they were composing and performing together prior to filming.

    In short, this film feels like the fantasy of a college sophomore, neglecting his classes in hopes that music will be his ticket out. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to have a street musician move in with you, I strongly recommend this movie. It makes 85 minutes seem like a month.
    ...more info
  • "When Your Minds Made Up" ~ Emotional Scars, Self-Exploration And The Healing Power Of The Creative Process
    The '07 release 'Once' certainly won't blow you away with state-of-the-art production values. In fact at times it will make you feel as though you're watching someones home movies. However once you move beyond all the usual Hollywood expectations of what a good film should be you'll find yourself deeply involved in this simple and sensitive story and personal invested in the charming relationship evolving between Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

    Follow along as their chance meeting on the streets of Dublin turns into an opportunity for the two to explore their past failures and heartbreaks through the medium of musical composition. As their portfolio of songs grow the beginning sparks hinting at the possibility of something more between the two come into play. Will the musical muse give way to its kindred spirit Cupid, or is the music all they really share?

    Terrific film from beginning to end with an excellent soundtrack comprised of the songs created by the two main characters in the storyline. This is what independent filmmaking is all about! ...more info
  • Simple yet genius
    Better people than me have used eloquence to describe and review this movie ...some say its contrite and badly acted ....I say its simply magnificent..its a simple yarn ...about a simple human passion ...it never once (forgive the term) sets out with grand intentions ..its what it is ...

    Simply superb


    ...more info
  • PERFECT!
    The creative, musical connection was phenomenal. The music was touching & memorable. A truly feel good movie. Absolutely one of my favorites!...more info
  • Great Independent Romantic Musical
    I really enjoyed "Once" as it reminded me of Time and Tide - another great independent film. The original music is very memorable and moving, and the film's slice-of-life feel helps create believable 3-dimensional characters. Yet again a low-budget film proves to be more enjoyable than almost every other big Hollywood production this year....more info
  • Dog of a movie in need of a leash.
    I don't get it. How on earth could anyone give this stale slice of mediocrity a favorable review?
    The acting was so banal it made the second-rate, cheese-ball story line seem Shakespearean. And let me go on record and say the screenplay came across as having been cobbled from every sappy `boy meets girl' endeavor to flop on the wide screen.
    The music was touted as being so powerful its contribution to the movie may well make it the "best musical film of our generation". Puleeze!! I noticed a poster of Leonard Cohen's 1973 'Live Songs' on one of the walls in the boy's bedroom . Do yourself a favor and buy the Leonard Cohen album. It's a thing of beauty and will sustain your soul for the rest of your life. Avoid this trite affair at all costs. No should have to suffer thru Once ... not even once.
    ...more info
  • JUST ABOUT PERFECT -- TO BE CREATIVE IS TO BE FULLY ALIVE
    An absolute gem.
    Don't miss this terrific film about what it means to really risk being alive.

    It's about a lot of other things as well:

    Connecting and creating.
    Finding harmony with another.
    Making something beautiful.
    Discovering a friendship without an agenda.
    Getting real.
    Loving yourself enough to heal the hurt.

    But mainly, this beautiful, unexpected movie is the best film I've seen about the creative process of discovering the song within and letting it out.

    And what music means.

    It is just about perfect.

    Highest recommendation....more info
  • "I don't know you/But I want you/All the more for that"
    Once is the street magician of musicals; its natural efficiency makes Dreamgirls look like Sigfried & Roy--a sparkling make-under of its genre, and a lovely sigh of a film.

    I agree with the other reviewers that it resembles Before Sunrise in realistic style and pacing--except Once uses music in place of introspective conversation to achieve a sensory magic that only music can stimulate. You don't even have to be a fan of this kind of music to experience the fullness of the story through it.

    Amazon's clip of the two leads (played by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglov√°, neither of their characters is named) first harmonizing in the music shop is the perfect selection. It comes about 15 minutes in, and is where the film (by the director's own admission) really starts. It's a very tentative moment of connection through a song, itself of searching for connection, that evokes Trufaut's "400 Blows" in the way it brings the viewer into the equation. It's a brilliant sensory parallel: While listening to the music, experiencing each note and at the same time anticipating the next in the melody, the viewer also watches in wonderment and waiting, trying to understand what is going on between these two obscure people at that exact moment, and trying to detect what they will be in the moment after that.

    The actors are both untrained, but it's neither evident nor non-evident in their performances. Sorry, that was a terribly composed sentence--what I mean is, while their performances are subtle and richly felt, they aren't "naturals" at acting; they ARE, however, naturals in their particular roles in this particular film. They just fit, and everything about it just feels right somehow. So much so that I wasn't at all surprised to discover that the lead actors were friends who met 6-7 years before, and that they began to see each other in a romantic light during filming. Hansard, 37, demonstrates an affecting hesitation and tentativeness around Irglov√°, who is 19, that is appropriate both for the plot, and the real-life fact that she is so young.

    In the excellent commentary with the actors and director, the director notes that the original script called for a kiss, and Hansard refused and wasn't comfortable with it. The grey area of romantic appropriateness befits the plot (the title denotes man's hesitation to act, waiting for "Once this-or-that happens"), and makes the characters' interactions more interesting, striking a perfect balance between discomfort and harmony.

    The fact that this was shot in 17 days for $175,000 is pretty amazing. But, again, it seems to add to the film for the better, giving it an improvisational and true-to-life feeling. The sets are real places in Dublin, adding to the sense that all this could've happened yesterday, and maybe it will happen tomorrow, you never know.

    This is just one of those rare, rare movies where all the behind-the-scenes events and interpersonal relationships are so oddly, perfectly manifest in the finished product.

    The DVD includes commentary by the actors and director on both the film and the songs. Subtitles are accessible in English, Spanish and French so you can follow along the lyrics. There are two brief but entertaining making-of-type featurettes as well.

    My one gripe: The R-rating is truly puzzling. On what planet, MPAA? There is no nudity, not even a kiss, and no violence. Some strong language, but barely that....more info
  • Perhaps the Only Musical to Excel in Realism.
    "Once" is an attempt at a musical for modern audiences, in which the characters express themselves through music but don't burst into song in places where it seems inappropriate. The two main characters are musicians, so it's natural for their feelings to be reflected in the songs they write. A street musician (Glen Hansard) in Dublin, Ireland sings popular covers by day and is trying out his own music on passersby at night when a friendly and somewhat impertinent street vendor (Marketa Irglova) stops to talk. It turns out that she is a classically trained pianist from the Czech Republic. The busker never had much ambition, but he is inspired by a fruitful collaboration with his new friend and finally motivated to record his music.

    You may recognize Glen Hansard as the frontman for the Irish band The Frames. John Carney, who wrote and directed the film, was formerly a band member. His philosophy in casting was to get "really good singers who can half-act" instead of settling for actors with mediocre musical talents. Hansard and Irglova are not professional actors, so "Once" uses a lot of long lenses by necessity. It's shot documentary style with some handheld work, but only occasionally shaky. The awkwardness of the characters' relationship and the man's palpable frustration create a strong sense of realism. Ironically, the only thing that feels self-conscious and inauthentic is that we so rarely hear the characters names spoken. Several of the songs are quite good, and they do, indeed, seem natural in their context.

    The DVD (20th Century Fox 2007): There are 4 featurettes and an audio commentary. "Making a Modern Day Musical" (12 min) interviews John Carney about his inspiration and approach, working on a micro budget, non-actors, and Glen Hansard about writing the songs. "More Guy, More Girl" (9 min) talks to the director and actors about the characters' relationship and audience reaction. "Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Guy" (1 min) is a webisode animated with stick figures. "Musical Commentary with writer-director John Carney and actor/musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova" takes us through the13 songs and fragments with commentary on filming and performing them. The audio commentary with John Carney, Glen Hansard, and Marketa Irglova comments scene-by-scene on characters, filming, the role of music, genesis of the project, locations, the director's intentions. Subtitles are available for the film in English, Spanish, French. Dubbing available in Spanish. ...more info
  • Ad Lib
    There is much to love about the quirky little film ONCE: it is honest, simple, transparent, and made with a low budget and lots of love. The leading characters are gentle people who happen to sing as well as act and the love story they create is a fragile little tale that remains in the air as a nice memory after the credits are past.

    A Dublin busker (Glen Hansard) is a songwriter and singer who plies his music on the streets when his is not helping his warmly generous father (Bill Hodnett) in his vacuum repair shop: his songs reflect a ruptured love affair and are sensitively poignant. Along comes a Czech girl (Markéta Irglová) who sells flowers on the streets but is impressed enough with the lad's music to stop, listen, and even put ten cents in his case. The two strike up a friendship (the girl plays the piano in a music shop during lunch hour) and in time these two bruised people interact in the wavelength of their love of music. The lad meets the girl's daughter and mother (Danuse Ktrestova) - the father of the child is still in the Czech Republic -, they all become friends, and with the help of a few fellow musicians they cut a recording that hopefully will launch the lad's career in a trip to London. The mood of the extemporaneous feeling piece is one of developing love that can only happen once, especially given the histories of each of the two musicians.

    Writer/director John Carney demonstrates how a simple story can be made into a touching film for under $150,000. and on a shooting schedule of 17 days. The featurettes have just as much tenderness in outlining the production of the film as the film itself. The only problem with the film for this viewer is the music, which seems redundant and repetitive: for those who favor this type of music this will not be a 'flaw'. It is admirable that films like this are being made, restoring our faith in honest craftsmanship backed by warmth of intent. Grady Harp, December 07

    ...more info
  • I *hated* this movie
    I thought this movie was a complete disaster. It all starts with my reaction to the songs. To be blunt, they *sucked* big time. It was impossible to believe that these people were creating any sort of "magic" when my ears told me otherwise, and the whole thing lacked credibility. When you see characters in front of the screen reacting as if they are there at the moment of creation of some great music, and you hear something that is worse than forgettable, it just fails miserably. As this movie did. So the bottom line...listen to the music first. If it works for you, then perhaps you will like the otherwise trite and not terribly believable fairy tale of a story. And if it doesn't, save your time and money and watch Disney's "Snow White" instead--it's a lot more credible and enjoyable....more info
  • Once DVD Playback not accurate (NTSC U.S. Version)

    I am one of many people who have been changed by the movie "Once." I saw the movie several times in the theater and I know the soundtrack in and out. I was also fortunate enough to see the Swell season three times here in Chicago. I am a musician and I appreciate the sincerity of the film and the way the songs told the story.


    I just purchased the Once DVD(U.S. Version - NTSC), and the experience was ruined due to the fact that the movie seemed to be playing back slower than normal making all of the songs play in a lower key, and all of the actor's voices lower than normal. I am not sure if this was noticed at the authoring house, but the final DVD is not true to the original recording. I tried the DVD in several different players, and even returned the first DVD but still had the same result with the replacement. I'm sure that many people will notice this right away. I also didn't like the airbrushed hand holding that was added and retouched on the DVD cover.

    I still love the film, but the DVD is not a good reproduction.

    ...more info
  • The Commitments: Unplugged
    The two lead actors are fantastic. Fans of The Commitments (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) should recognize the guy as he's played by Glen Hansard who played Outspan Foster, the guitar player in Alan Parker's motion picture. He has a great, emotional voice that comes through on the songs that he sings and is reminiscent of Richard Thompson. It gives the music a powerful punch and depth. He plays a character still haunted by a past relationship and this bleeds into his songs. Marketa Irglova brings a quiet, understated charm to her role. It's a wonderfully unaffected performance and the two of them have terrific chemistry together.

    These two musicians compliment each other well, encouraging each other's musical ideas. Think of this film as The Commitments: Unplugged. Once is one of those rare films where the actors are actually playing their instruments and singing instead of aping along to someone else's music. Hansard and Irglova are the real deal and this only adds to the enjoyment of the film. Once is personal, heartfelt filmmaking at its finest and a world away from the big budget bombast of a film like Dreamgirls.

    There is an audio commentary by writer/director John Carney and actor/musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Carney tends to dominate this track as he talks about the origins of the film's title. Irglova talks about the challenge of finding her character early on in the shoot. Hansard talks about his days with Carney in the band, The Frames and how he knew that Carney would go on to become a filmmaker.

    All three also provide a commentary for all of the songs in the film. Hansard says that they did the busking scenes early on a Sunday morning to avoid being recognized. They talk over each musical number, sometimes telling the origin of a song.

    "Making a Modern Day Musical." Carney says that audiences have connected with the film because of its personal, intimate approach. Originally, Hansard wasn't going to be in the film but Carney liked the rehearsal footage of him with Irglova.

    "More Guy, More Girl" features Carney talking about the initial idea he had for the film. Cast and crew talk about making it with plenty of on-the-set footage which gives some insight into the creative process. Everyone speaks fondly of the filmmaking experience.

    "Webisodes" features one of the songs from the film done to really low-tech, stickman drawing animation....more info
  • Truly a masterpiece
    I just watched Once for the second time, having seen it in the theater. This time I watched it with my hard-to-please parents, and they loved it too. I can't say enough good things about this film: the story is perfect, sweet and feel-good without being sentimental. The music is great - maybe not as consistently amazing as The Frames' best album, "For the Birds", but excellent nonetheless. And best of all, Once is simply one of the least "acted" films I've ever seen in my life. The two leads are simply real people saying real things; it almost feels like we're eavesdropping on someone's life (but with music :)

    My dad just said, "Wow, I'd recommend that to anyone." And those are my sentiments exactly....more info
  • I Never Have Written A Review Before
    But I had to this one time. I liked this movie alot, period. The story and the music combine for a believable tale of two people with loads of emotional baggage bringing out the best in each other. The story is probably familiar to many people, from those who have already lived it to those who dream the story will unfold for them at sometime in the future.

    Given the opportunity to see Glen and Marketa performing as members of the Swell Season last month, I was amazed at how many people were touched by this movie. Based on the audience, the movie embraces people of all ages, from those still in their fundamental high school and college years to those who have experienced a bundle of springtimes. Perhaps it is all an act, but Glen and Marketa seem extremely genuine and seem to really enjoy making music together. What a great night that was.

    I rarely offer advice, but I will break with tradition this one time. Please see this movie. There's a real good chance you'll enjoy it as I did. And perhaps you'll be writing your first review as well.






    ...more info
  • A marvelous combination of music, romance and true-to-life characters populate "Once"
    Musical romances are tough to sell to today's audiences and they are usually awkward. Trying to make one as an independent feature minus all the Hollywood gloss and big production numbers is even tougher but then this film isn't your typical combination of music, drama and romance.

    "Once" manages to be both bold and marvelous at the same time. This delightful film tells the story of an Irish musician (Glen Hansard) who falls for a classically trained piano player and Czech immigrant (Marketa Irglova) who is living with her daughter and mother. The two discover a surprising musical compatibility as well in addition to their unexpected romance. A small independent release that disappeared from theaters as quickly as it opened, "Once" is one of those films that you can delightfully discover as it moves on to its second life on home video without feeling guilty about the quality.

    Hansard who plays in the rock band Frames brings his character to life as much through song as he does through performance. Written and directed by Hansard's band mate John Carney, the film takes a bit to take off but once it does it soars. This isn't your fantasy musical however and Carney doesn't shy away from showing the hardship that two street musicians face in a world that largely gives them an unsympathetic ear.

    The film looks quite good on DVD considering its low budget nature and feeling that it was shot on the fly. Audio sounds quite good as well with a crisp, clear quality that one might not expect on an independent film such as this.

    We get an observant and intelligent commentary track by director Carney and his stars. They discuss everything from their characters in the film to making music. There is also a track specific commentary track with the trio as well. "Making a Modern Day Musical" is a very good featurette that focuses on the challenges that Carney faced with the musical genre as well as the difficulties he and the cast faced in trying to pull it off convincingly. "More Guy, More Girl" focuses on the unnamed main characters and their relationship. We also get the web featurette "Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy" and the ability to download via your PC another web featurette which I didn't have time to review. Finally we get four trailers for unrelated but thematically similar films.

    "Once" is an absolute delight. It's unpretentious and focuses on what is missing from most modern day musicals--the characters, their relationship and their evolution vs. big production numbers and over-the-top tunes. The score is memorable as well and fans may want to pick it up. The DVD comes with some nice extras but, really, they are icing on an already rich cake.


    ...more info
  • Once is a true Masterpeice
    "Once" is the most well-written underground film that I've ever seen. The acting between Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova is amazing. I highly recommend that you buy this!

    Andy (Chicago)...more info
  • angelic history
    the frames have been making great music for many years. it is no wonder that this such a gem. glen hansard is an amazing song writer period and Markéta Irglová is the perfect counter weight.

    I can't wait for te DVD!...more info
  • Once is not enough
    Well, there is not much left to be said after reading all the reviews. As a Czech I am very proud of this movie. It is simple and touching and real. This is a movie which will stick in your head and heart for a long, long time. Just be warned - this is not your average Hollywood tearjerker by any means - which is really good :) ...more info
  • Guy Gets Girl, Sort of
    The only thing that didn't convince me about Once was the music, which I found more serviceable than great. Otherwise, Once is one of the best movies of 2007. Its entire too-short length is a romance, but not in the end the romance expected at the beginning. Even more than the romance, it is about Dublin, about carrying on in fragile circumstances, and about giving oneself and others a second chance. Those are, of course, themes more universal than individual, so it's entirely appropriate that the two protagonists are never named beyond Guy and Girl. Even in that anonymity, however, they are finely drawn and portrayed individuals. Once is a movie to see more often than its title. And each viewing will yield scenes that become stuck in memory -- the father's faith in his son, the brightly colored vacuum cleaner being pulled through gray Dublin streets, and Girl's lunkish adolescent neighbors who pile on to her sofa to watch TV soaps to improve their English. ...more info
  • A movie that sings...
    A great description of this movie is "A movie that sings." It is very rare that a film speaks to me as this one has. As an aspiring film maker I can only close my eyes and pray that I could ever make something as beautiful as this movie. I am going to make it a personal goal of mine to make sure everyone close to me gets to see this!...more info
  • AMAZING!
    This film is just amazing. I found that at the end, I was slightly upset that it didn't end in the hollywood fashion, but that is just selfish. It ends perfectly not following the usual horrible basic rubric of high-budget movies. This is a film not a movie.

    Normally, I find that when there is no tripod used, that the cameraman better keep still, but in this, I found that it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. This is an amazing film. there are no flowered parts, no "that only happens in the movies" feel. This is like watching real lives play out. This is how it should be.

    Everyone should see this, if not for the film, for the music. I am a sucker for duets, and a sucker for great, original muscianship. They are perfect musically, they synch together just right.

    See this film and you will have a new favorite in your list....it's just amazing....more info
  • Just Really Loved It
    A sweet, warm, touching movie with great music. It certainly wasn't what I expected, but the main characters are just so real and nice that you feel like they are your friends. The music drags you in emotionally with its power and humor and even ferocity. One of the best I've seen recently. I'm so glad that occasionally a treasure like this sneaks out of the creative abyss to touch us.

    William J. Trinkle...more info
  • The little movie that has...
    ...done just about everything right. I have seen few films that were more inspirational, heartfelt, and honest than this Irish gem.

    Boy meets girl (or, rather, girl seeks out boy); boy warms to girl; boy and girl make beautiful music together (literally), but boy and girl have complicating factors in their lives; boy and girl head in separate directions, but emotionally on the same page; and it all somehow involves a Hoover, a piano, and copious quanitities of great music.

    I've spent the summer recommending it to my family and friends. You'll do the same once you've seen Once. ...more info
  • Once in a lifetime
    Occasionally, human beings come together to create something greater than themselves; Once is just one example. This is a modern day love story that's impossibly original and classic. Like first discovering, chocolate, sex, or our favorite sonnet this movies envelopes and fills with rapture. The music is a sweet cherry a top. My god! I do believe in the human race once again!

    "This mystery only leads to doubt...and if you have something to say ... say it to me to now..."...more info
  • Wonderful film...amazing music!
    I finally saw this movie with 2 friends last month after waffling about it for awhile. I'm so glad I did. It's visually intimate -- the camera work makes the environment seem more real. The relationship between Guy & Girl is also wonderful as they don't cross that line that from friends to more -- its not some mushy happily ever after ending in the way most romantic films end.

    But the best and most important part of all is the music. It's stunning and moving -- I bought the soundtrack immediately after watching the movie and just saw Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova play the Beacon Theatre last night -- its even more amazing live.

    Highly highly recommend this film and its soundtrack! :)...more info
  • Simply brilliant! Simple and spectacular.
    This is without question the best film of 2007. Glen and Marketa put on amazing performances...especially considering they are musicians, not professional actors. It's a beautiful love story that is simple on the surface, but has many deep layers.
    I fell in love with this film last summer and cannot wait for the DVD release. Seeing Glen and Marketa in concert only made the experience and my love for this film that much sweeter....more info
  • A Gem!!
    A truly amazing film... Glen is brilliant and Marketa is perfect!! A great movie to watch again and again with a cup of tea (or a glass of wine). Don't let this beautiful film pass you by!!...more info
  • A Christmas list must!
    I had heard about this movie and was pleased to find it offered by Qantas Airlines on my recent flight back in economy class seating from Auckland NZ to LAX. I watched this movie on a very tiny screen in a very noisy 747, but I was completely enchanted and haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I am recommending this movie to everyone I know. It's charming, real and incredibly touching and I cannot wait to add it to my collection. ...more info
  • You will watch it more than Once
    This is the type of film that stays with you long after you see it.

    Loved it so much, took a visiting friend to see it for my second time, her first time.

    She went back to her hometown, and took two of her friends.

    I listen to the soundtrack all the time.

    Sweet and humor-filled story, beautiful, moving music, and wonderfully cast....more info
  • One of the Best movies!
    I saw Once almost by mistake; wrong time at the theater and was so glad it worked out. I came home and immediately ordered the soundtrack. This movie is the top of my Christmas list!!...more info
  • A Great Film
    All the praise is deserved (it's garnered fantastic reviews just about everywhere). It's a small, terrific film that will stay with you. Find it and watch it....more info
  • "Once" Is A Real Find
    "Once" is a real find. The story of a street musician who meets a Czech émigré on the streets of downtown Dublin, is a believable, well-made film about love, dreams and making things happen.

    Guy (Glen Hansard, a real musician who also appeared in the film "The Commitments"), a street busker who sings his heart out on the streets of Dublin, works in his dad's vacuum repair shop. One day, a young lady (Marketa Irglova), a Czech immigrant, begins to ask him questions about his music, his passions, the inspiration for his ballads. They form a friendship and she encourages him to follow his dream and put together a demo album. As the friendship grows, she helps him negotiate a recording studio and practice the songs. In the process, she invites him into her home, to meet her mother and young daughter. During the course of their relationship, they grow closer, but she is still married and can't let anything happen. They round up some other musicians and begin to work on the demo, to help him with his dream.

    "Once", written and directed by John Carney, is a very intimate look at the relationship between these two people. A lot of handheld camera work, close shots and grungy, real locations help to give the film an incredible cinema verite look and style. The camera work is handheld, but not overly shaky, creating shots with an intimate, close appearance, really thrusting us into the middle of the action.

    The relationship between Guy and Girl (as they are listed in the credits) is really an interesting one that draws you into their lives. Initially, the guy is a bit put off by the girl, she is extremely chatty and forthcoming, asking him a lot of questions about his music, why he sings certain songs, the inspiration, etc. As a street musician, he is naturally a little weary about people getting too close, he simply wants them to enjoy a little of the music and drop a couple of coins or bills into his guitar case and leave. So, the young woman who stops to ask questions, in her accented English, is a minor annoyance, until he realizes she is genuinely interested.

    As their relationship grows, he feels a fondness for her, and as a single man, he naturally flirts with her. But when she realizes this is going too far, she gives him a little look, a minor reprimand, and he realizes she is right. They are friends, sharing an experience. And she is married, even if her husband still lives in the Czech Republic and they are having problems.

    As they become friends, they become involved in each other's lives. He meets her mother and daughter, sees where she lives, has dinner at their house. She meets his dad and becomes involved in his making of a demo album.

    When the duo shows up at the recording studio, with their fellow street musicians, the sound engineer greets them, but secretly reveals his true feelings to someone on his cell phone. He has a feeling this group is another example of people with too much ambition and not enough talent; they don't even know the technical details of recording the music. But when they start playing, he recognizes they have talent, the songs are good, and the lead singer, our guy, is quite good, so he becomes engrossed in making the demo as good as possible. He becomes a part of their team, investing part of himself in the production of the demo.

    Part of the beauty of "Once" is that nothing seems forced. They don't have sex, simply to make the story more dramatic. In fact, the course of their relationship seems all the more real because they simply remain friends, close friends invested in each other's lives and livelihood. There aren't any manufactured crises involving her mother and baby or his dad. They simply struggle with real life.

    Also, the music is quite good throughout the film. Guy sings a song, a love ballad he wrote for his girlfriend who moved away to London, a few times, each time making it a little better. Finally, when they record it for the demo, it is as good as it could be, with the girl playing keyboard and singing backup and the addition of the other musicians they have recruited.

    "Once" is a film about the guy following his dream. He wants to make a demo and travel to London, to try to get a contract. But perhaps more importantly, he wants to reunite with his girlfriend. All he needs is a little push, a little support and guidance from a friend. He finds that friendship with the girl, his new friend who helps him realize he should go for his dream.


    ...more info
  • Rare gem
    What a rare gem .
    Just see it.
    It was made by some musician friends in 17 days for $175,000.-
    It is priceless.
    Check out Utube for interviews and informal renditions of the songs.

    Fine art deserves to be savored again and again.
    ...more info
  • Beautiful Movie
    I'm not one to normally write reviews, however I saw this movie back in July and still think about it constantly. I'm only on this site right now because I was curious to when the movie is going to be released on DVD. I just signed up to be notified, as I will be purchasing a copy for myself and for the person I saw the movie with.

    I could go on and on about everything I love about this movie but instead I'll just say that this movie has a way of touching you emotionally that you won't expect. I went into the theater just expecting it to be yet another movie but it wasn't. It's a love story that anyone can relate to because the people involved are coping with real issues that get in the way of being with that one special person.

    And the music... wow. Just... wow. ...more info
  • Guy meets Girl and they literally make beautiful music together
    This is one of those rare movies that defies any neat classification. It isn't a traditional love story by any stretch. Though it is filled with music from beginning to end it isn't really a musical. In the traditional musical characters will suddenly burst into song but it represented an interruption in the otherwise semi-realistic tone of the movie--think of Gene Kelly in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. But all the songs in this film are in line with the overall realism of the film, they are all songs that occur in normal life.

    I don't want to reveal much in the way of details about the movie since much of the joy of the film is discovering the ways it defies expectations. In broad outline it is about a street singer who has put his emotional life on cold storage because of a broken heart and the woman he meets who helps him open himself back up to life. During the day in Dublin he sings familiar standards for tips but at night, when the crowds thin out, he sings his own original material. We see him this way for the first time through the eyes of the Girl as she first meets him (in the credits the two lead characters, never addressed by name, are listed as Guy and Girl). He, played by Frames' frontman Glen Hansard, is singing an absolutely stunning song with intense passion. As he finishes, the camera pulls back to reveal her standing there. From thenceforward we see the two of them get to know each other as they perform a string of amazing songs together.

    Neither Glen Hansard nor Markéta Irglová is a professional actor. Hansard did have a prominent role in another great Dublin film about music, THE COMMITMENTS. In that one Hansard played the band's guitarist Outspan Foster, one of the two original members of the band (he is the one who resists the suggestion of the other original member to call their band A Flock of Budgies). In real life, of course, Hansard has long been the resident genius of the great Irish rock band The Frames and both one of the great singers in rock as well as an absolutely brilliant songwriter (neither of which anyone who sees this movie will be inclined to doubt). While visiting Prague a couple of years back he met a precocious teenager who was none other than Markéta Irglová. One thing led to another and within a year of their meeting they recorded and album together entitled THE SWELL SEASON. Next they appeared in this film by John Carney, himself a former member of The Frames. So their time together has been amazingly productive (she also appeared on the critically acclaimed new album by the Frames, THE COST).

    The film is filled with wonderful little moments, like the first meeting (driven by Hansard's magnificent performance of "Say It To Me Now"). Or the way the sound engineer recording the Guy's song goes from disinterest to interest as he realizes just how good he is. Or the marvelous extended shot that follows the Girl from a convenience store where she has bought batteries for a CD player down the street for a few blocks as she sings the lyrics she has written for a song the Guy has written the music for.

    This truly is a very special film. It does not have the greatest production values; indeed, it feels like the low budget that it is. It works because the two leads, while not professional actors, have a wonderful chemistry both romantically and musically and because Glen Hansard is one of the finest songwriters around. In fact, the soundtrack for the film has to go down as one of the greatest soundtracks ever released. I would urge anyone who loves the music in this film to investigate not merely the soundtrack for the film, but both THE SWELL SEASON, the album by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, and two albums by the Frames, FITZCARRALDO and THE COST. ...more info
  • Once is never enough when it comes to viewing this masterpiece!
    During this time of the year, most movie studios release those surefire moneymakers known as "the summer blockbuster." With movies like "Pirates of the Caribbean 3," "Spider-Man 3," "Shrek the Third," "Transformers," "Fantastic Four 2," "Ocean's Thirteen," and "Live Free or Die Hard," it's hard to not be enticed into the studio's lure. But while these seasons come and go, and their neverending advertisements riddle our media, it's easy for most cinematic gems - ones more original and genuine - to fall out of our sights and sadly not be noticed until DVD release, if at all. One such gem is Fox Searchlight's release "Once," starring Glen Hansard (only noticed as the red-headed guitarist Outspan Foster from Alan Parker's 1991 hit, The Commitments (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)) and the beautiful, wistful Czech musician Marketa Irglova (whose voice somewhat resembles Tori Amos ... only Irglova's music is good).

    Hansard is also known as guitarist and leading man of the music group The Frames (with which director John Carney was bassist), and while he and Irglova have previously teamed up to record "The Swell Season" album as well as open for Damien Rice (whom Hansard's music sometimes resembles) on his first tour, their meeting in "Once" is so earnest and real that you'd think it was the first time these people had met. I heard most of the movie was shot with a long range lens, thus shooting the actors from afar and giving the movie more of a documentary feel than a fictional film, which works immensely. "Once" has such a basic boy-meets-girl storyline but with much more meaning. And it's that simplicity that helps make the overall message of this film so beautiful. The main characters don't even trivialize with stating names; all that matters is the connection these two have - much like that of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise. However, unlike "Sunrise," there is no pretension with these characters, who do more than have romantic feelings toward each other and avoid their rehashings of their pasts. Despite the fact that they're virtually strangers, Hansard and Irglova have faith in each other; something that's sorely lacking in today's society. The two have a wonderful chemistry and I heard that they are/were dating in real life.

    Set in Dublin, Ireland, "Once" is the tale of a guy (Hansard) who's a vacuum repairman at his father's shop by day and a guitarist/busker by afternoons and evenings, trying his best to support his widowed father and get over a break-up with his girlfriend. One night, while performing one of his outstanding, passionate songs ("Say It To Me Now"), he's tipped by and meets a Czech girl (Irglova), who's amazed by his song and becomes somewhat of a fan. The next day, when bringing the guy her vacuum to repair, we learn that the girl is somewhat of a musician herself - she was trained by her father to be a damn good pianist. Shortly after, the two stop by a music shop where the girl plays piano for him and he soon is taking out one of his original songs for them to both sing. What follows is a simplistic-yet-magical scene set to a beautifully haunting song, "Falling Slowly," where these characters bond. Without mincing words, this song is absolutely beautiful and brilliant! And it's a good precursor of what to expect from this film.

    With many critics describing this movie as a musical, or as director Carney described it: a "video album," it's easy to agree because the film's music is featured so prominently and is played to help form and mold the characters. At times, "Once" feels a bit like an epic music video, but with much more feeling and story. Each time a song comes on, you feel more drawn to these characters, their lives and the connection they have. If you don't like the music, then there's something seriously wrong with your taste and you should probably start reevaluating what you consider to be good, real music.

    I won't disclose any more of the film or the several scenes I loved as I'm afraid that may take away from the visceral, feelgood emotions they invoke. All I will say is that "Once" is one of the best, innovative films I've seen in a long time. It's emotionally honest, the music is better than anything you'll hear on mainstream contemporary radio, and it'll leave you feeling both inspired and rejuvenated. This is not merely a film to see; it's a film to experience! There're so many emotions and memories that surface after viewing this film and that's the sign of a great movie! I have to admit that while I'll be among the masses going to see "Live Free of Die Hard," the chance of me buying that movie on DVD is a lot more slim compared to my excitement in buying "Once" on DVD for multiple viewings! Between Hansard's humility and Irglova's charm, it's easy to fall in love with "Once" more than its title invokes.

    Sadly, because it's an independent film, you may have problems locating a theater where it's playing - which is a shame because, really, how many showings do we need of "Pirates of the Caribbean 3" or "Ocean's Thirteen"? But if you do notice "Once" on Netflix or at your local movie rental store, make it a top priority to see this film! Drop everything and just see it. Afterward, I'll even bet that you'll then soon be visiting a music store and buying the outstanding soundtrack or the duo's great preceding album The Swell Season....more info
  • An absolute charmer that gets Dublin absolutely spot on
    This couldn't have been better if Sean O Faoilean had written the story and Christy Moore had written the songs and directed the film. This is a charming story about two musicians who fall into an unconsummated love, but whose passion for each other is remarkable. And you can take the kids to it as everyone keeps their knickers on and apart from the occasional FECK! there's nothing to corrupt the minds of the tinkers.
    The first 5 to 10 minutes of this film are so perfectly Dublin that it ought to be required viewing for anyone with an Irish avocation. And I'll leave it at that. The visual comedy of The Guy's guitar is just such a perfectly deft Dub stroke that it keeps all the sentimentality at bay. These are two souls who are joined by the passion of the music they create, and another of the perfect tones of the film is just how tellingly the story captures the songwriting and recording process. Having completed a couple of discs, I can tell you that they got it right, to the very last detail.
    The tunes fit the story and while they may not be the greatest songs ever written, they have an emotional honesty that will remind you of Christy Moore or MIke Scott, and in that regard they are brilliant. In the end, the love goes unconsummated but not unrequited, and you'll just have to go see the film. I'll certainly pick it up on DVD as it reminds me of someone from a long time ago, and as I left the theatre, I could tell there were hosts of others with similar thoughts. This is a very genuine story, exceptionally well told, well written, well performed. ...more info
  • Life as it is and should be
    Simply the most enjoyable film of the year. You care about all of the characters and want to believe life will be good for them. You hope and pray there will be a sequel. Once is even better seen twice....more info
  • A throwback to the old, classic movies
    Films like this are far and few between. Everything in it is real. No trick photography or technological effects -- what you see is what you get. The movie explores the relationship between its two main characters, and does so in such a believable way, you will think you know both characters intimately. Along the way, a whole variety of "everyday topics" surface, ranging from love to money to relationships between parents and kids to business relationships. Think of this as a very personal glimpse into the life of two very good, special people over a short period of time. And all this is against the backdrop of some very original and special music, portrayed by two extraordinarily gifted actors/singers. In a word, just a beautiful film!...more info
  • Brilliant
    The best movie I have seen since I don't know when. GO SEE IT before reading reviews becasue the reviews give too much away and detract from some important moments. I can't help but think it is really going to be a big deal eventually....more info
  • "ONCE" YOU'll SEE IT TWICE
    Where to begin. If this isn't the best movie of the summer, let alone the whole year, I don't know what movie is. Please go see this movie so they will make more just like this. The music is incredible, a little folk/pop that is just sensational. The acting is perfect and the story is beautiful. This should do wonderfully at the Oscars this year in the music catagories. Unfortunately the movie will probably not get a bid for best movie or the actors either. Too bad because it is truly a beautiful movie that deserves to be seen, and a soundtrack that deserves to be heard. It's rare that a movie like this comes along, don't let it get away without seeing this gem. I personally would like to thank the film makers and the actors for such an amazing gift to all of us, a job very very well done. If I could, I'd give this movie 10 stars. I LOVE THIS MOVIE.
    ...more info
  • Finally a reality film that is al too real
    Finally a film that is far from a common Hollywood shoot them! up! and kill! em!!film. Extremely well acted with beautiful real words that tell a poignant storyline and touching very passionate music.I greatly enjoyed seeing this love story and closing my eyes and just listening to the wonderful soundtrack.The acting was superb,real, and a very special unsuspecting treat for a rainy Sunday evening in Manhattan.Donnie,Manhattan...more info
  • ...and for all
    "Once" is an engaging and phenomenally sweet movie about young artists trying to find an outlet for their boundless need for expression. "The Guy" is a ragged Irish street singer with a beat-up guitar who reserves his own most pained and poignant works for the evening, when no one listens anyway. We encounter "The Girl," a Czech street peddler of magazines and flowers, who also has a talent for music and who is attracted by the depth of the Guy's music. Given less talented writers, "Once" could quickly have devolved into romantic nonsense. But both the Guy and the Girl have unresolved romantic commitments that prevent them from easily falling into a tryst. Watching them grapple with their love and appreciation for each other while honoring their previous attachments is one of the joys of this movie.

    "Once" is basically a vehicle for publicizing the music of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová -- the leads who actually wrote most of the music in the film. One suspects that the film is a lightly veiled version of their own stories. But, the locales and characters portrayed in the film are varied and interesting. From heroin addicts, to unemployed immigrants, to street musicians and poets singing for their dinner, the film is full of characters that are real and wonderful. The music is also quite charming -- especially if you are drawn to the kind of moody, introspective folk genre that is half crazed with regret, passion and mourning over lost relationships.

    "Once" is a wonderful tale of two people from different backgrounds who come together, for a moment, over a love of music. It is about getting unstuck from self-imposed limits. It is about taking chances and risking failure. It is about finding lost love and starting again. It is about life itself. "Once" is a fabulous and moving look at two people who once upon a gritty time risked all to make something beautiful....more info
  • It Might Be an Interesting Bookend with "The Commitments"
    "Once" was the surprise hit of Sundance 2006, one of the world's leading independent film festivals. It can be considered an interesting bookend with "The Commitments," a 1970's film about Dublin's poor, musical youth. (Apparently, we're to read "Once" as being set a few years ago, when most of Dublin was still poor, particularly its young. We can also, presumably, believe each film gives a fairly accurate picture of its times.) Furthermore, as is well-known, Glen Hansard, with the well-known Irish band "The Frames," who was one of the lesser-noticed musicians in "The Commitments," stars in this film.

    Hansard plays "the guy," day job helping his father repair vacuum cleaners; otherwise to be found on the streets of Dublin, playing for pennies, busking, as they call it; the same place he was found in "The Commitments." One evening he meets "the girl," Marketa Irglova, a recent Czech immigrant; also a talented musician. They get together musically, much to the guy's benefit, and do some yearning after each other; but the girl has commitments.

    Much has been made of the fact that this movie was made in less than 17 days, for less than $150,000; and, as it was filmed with a handheld camera, it could be made on the streets of Dublin without a permit. Well, that's as may be, but the picture occasionally goes out of focus, and the sound is so fuzzy it's hard to catch the dialogue, let alone the music's lyrics.

    Furthermore, the less than 17 days is no excuse for not bothering to name the characters, nor for an embarrassingly stock footage/thinking filler beach frisby scene. There's hardly a two-shot in the film, nor any action, either. And finally, we don't always need every character's backstory; but it seems very unlikely, even in these days of the European Union, that Irish immigration would allow a single mother, with her child, and her mother, and without a real job, admission. And it seems even more unlikely that three people, anywhere, anytime, could be housed, clothed and fed on the proceeds of selling roses, or magazines, on the street.

    Seems to me that the movie is just lazily made. However, let me give you an advisory here: I'm no longer as young as once I was, and even if I could have gotten the music in that fuzzy soundtrack, not so sure I would "get" it. People who love the music may well love the movie, despite its flaws.

    ...more info
  • Still Haunting
    Saw this a few months ago; just listening to the soundtrack and find that the movie's images and music still give me goosebumps. good stuff. nuff said....more info
  • Love was real: Once
    You've seen the story line in other reviews. The movie will tell you that. What I hope to do is to motivate you to see this well done film. I've seen recent movies that were cute but unaffecting. This one is believable and you will feel it. Once in a while a movie comes along that changes your perspective. Once is that kind of film. Anyone who has ever been interested in making a recording, or falling in love will appreciate this film. It is touching and very real from the poverty of the main characters to the graininess of the film and the roughness of the music. I have to say I wasn't a big fan of the soundtrack before I watched the film but now it's a must-have. It's like remembering a love story to listen to it. Everyone will find something to identify with. The beginning was a little difficult due to some strong accents (maybe some subtitles would help) but that is really my only criticism. Love was real: Once. ...more info
  • Charming, lovely, delightful -- not the way I would usually describe a movie but
    this movie is exactly that! It's been said more than a dozen times already in these comments but yes, the best movie I've seen in years. I'm not sentimental, and I almost didn't go see the movie that was described to me as a "romantic musical." I'll just say it again:

    This is the best movie I have seen in years....more info
  • Delightful, Lovely Film with Achingly Beautiful Music
    I saw this last weekend. It's a simple story with wonderful chemistry/friendship between the two main characters. The music is really passionate, heartfelt, and it continues throughout the film. I have been blogging about this film, telling everyone I know that they must see it. To see the scenes where these characters are making music together. It's hard to explain just how beautiful it is to watch and to hear. I had the songs in my head the whole night and next day. I ordered the soundtrack right away and downloaded a few from blogs just to last me until the CD arrived. I will buy this film the instant it is released and plan to watch it regularly. If you don't like this film, I have to question your capacity to feel!!...more info
  • An amazing movie.
    Just saw this movie and went straight to the store and bought the soundtrack. It is such an amazing movie and just shows that you don't need millions to make a wonderful movie (or Julia Roberts)! It really is an impressive production. It is only playing in our small Art House theater so I don't know if it is in wide release but it deserves to be. ...more info
  • Deeply Moving
    'Once' is a movie miracle. Drawing on the lives of two poor pedestrian people in Dublin, the film is a passionate and whimsical look at making music. With genuinely good performances, a warm and witty script, and music that comes at you like a flowing stream, 'Once' is winning on every level.

    'Once,' as in "Once upon a time," he (Glen Hansard)(generically named a guy) meets a gal (Marketa Irglova) (similarly named) on the street. He is a musician, belting out his own songs at an outdoor mall using a guitar with a gaping hole to accompany him. At the beginning we find him chasing down a robber who's stolen his guitar case with all his change. Such is his meager existence. He hasn't quit his day job, either. He works at a small, dirty vacuum repair shop when he's not making music. She stops by him one day and is impressed. (She throws in a dime, something he has the contumely to acknowledge a few times, yet he doesn't have the money to buy her magazine, either.) She asks him pointed questions that put him on the spot, but her look and smile are so lovely that he's able to overcome the awkwardness, especially since she at first suits him as being someone she can leave her vacuum with where he performs. (It's just quirky designs like this that make the movie so effective.) He gets too forward at one point later, but he softens her interest to find that she, too, lives in a dingy apartment with her daughter, Ivana, who is just a toddler and her mother. She is from the Czech Republic. He falls in love, but both find the right notes musically. She plays the piano and the keyboards, and her voice makes them a perfect match. Remarkably, the powerfully felt music translates so well, and the purposely amateurish video clips of her show the streamlined fantasy she has become. So focused is the series of home movies that (thankfully) stick out from MTV videos and makes the latter seem overwrought. The music, the videos, and the movie sort of melt together into one story and song. His passion inspires the music, but in every way she brings out the best in him. Her passion also is in the music, but her inspiration is in many ways the same and different from his.

    'Once' is truly a departure from other film fare. At this point, I'll venture to wager it is one the best films of 2007. After this experience, a good movie like 'Music and Lyrics' seems like a hollow confection in comparison. (The vast majority of the songs' lyrics are credited to Glen Hansard with one by Maketa Irglova, and a few by familiar artists like Van Morrison--a perfect supplemental choice.)...more info
  • amanda
    It is amazing how such a simple film can bring emotions from a depth that you never new existed within yourself. If only we all took the time to appreciate all of the simpler moments in our lives.
    Truly a must see movie! If not for the story, then for the music. But mainly, for both. This is the only way I can "review" this film. I think each person needs to see it and experience it themselves.
    ...more info
  • Made me remember
    I'm pretty darned old to fall for a movie like this one, but I think I could see it once a week and there would be healing in my life! Seriously. In many ways it is just a very long wonderful music video, but the authenticity of the relationship between love and the creative process blew me away. I have very little extra money, but will probably see it at least a couple more times before the summer ends. It is rated R because the street language uses the f word - sounds poetic on an Irish tongue. If you have a young teenanger - sneak them in. I guarantee seeing the movie will make your IPOD texting kid a better person. And it will certainly work on you....more info
  • Boy Meets Girl...and They Meet the Music in a Low Budget Charmer
    I doubt if I've seen a film more unabashedly romantic in the past five years, and this small-scale 2007 film is a musical to boot. Even with its Dublin-set working-class veneer, the story is basic boy-meets-girl formula, but director/screenwriter John Carney's real-world treatment manages to transcend the conventions, even if only fleetingly, through the aching pop ballads which make up most of the soundtrack and the sincerity of the two leads. The plot focuses on an Irish street musician who plays Van Morrison hits for change during the day but reverts to his original compositions at night. Written for a long-established girlfriend who has moved away to London, his open yearning and musicianship attract the persistent attention of a young Czech girl. Despite his initial hesitation, they bond quickly over his music. There is a lovely scene in a piano shop where he sings and plays his well-worn guitar to one of his songs, a stunning heartbreaker called "Falling Slowly", while she tentatively accompanies him on the piano. The story simply goes from one number to the next while uncovering facts about the characters that guide their fate.

    It's been sixteen years since his memorable turn as guitarist Outspan Foster in Alan Parker's The Commitments, but Glen Hansard, lead singer of the Irish rock group, the Frames, plays the forlorn busker with a searching intensity befitting a man not only broken-hearted from a fading long-distance relationship but also worried he will end up repairing vacuum cleaners just like his stoic father. Markéta Irglová has the quirky, endearing quality necessary to play the girl. But as musicians whose compositions supply the soundtrack, their acting is secondary to the music they play. Hansard's deeply felt music immediately brings to mind Damien Rice's and David Gray's melancholy folk-rock ballads, while Irglová provides a nice complement with a voice similar to Björk's plaintive style. I have to admit the low-budget production values (it was made for just $150K) does make itself clear with some shaky, hand-held shots and overly grainy film stock. But all in all, if you are a fan of any of the musicians mentioned and remain undemanding in regard to cinematic storylines, chances are pretty good that you will enjoy this little film enormously....more info
  • A charming, real film..
    I decided to see this on a whim, not really knowing what it was about. It was just what I needed. As someone who has been going through a lot of stress lately and not really listening to music, it reminded me to bring the music back. If the songs were not good, there is no way that I would have made it through the film.

    A man and a woman meet while he is playing guitar and singing in the street for money. She wants to hear more. He is a little jaded from his last relationship, but he can't help but like her. Later on, he finds out that she plays piano and they come together in the piano store to play a song together. That was my favorite song in the movie. I found myself glued to the screen, and then, my mind wandering, because it reminded me that I need to discover some new music.

    Things don't always end in life they way they do in Hollywood movies (and I'm glad for that) but you still can't help dropping a few tears. So touching and beautiful. I will definitely buy the soundtrack. ...more info
  • Blown Away .... Best Movie of the Year!!!!
    Winsome love story with magnetic soundtrack draws you in and takes you for a ride. Life rarely has storybook endings and neither does "Once." The story and music draw you in and pull you under in an enchanting tale of pain and passion strained through the prism of song.

    I would give it a "6" if I could ....

    See "Once" more than once!...more info
  • Guy meets Girl and they literally make beautiful music together
    This is one of those rare movies that defies any neat classification. It isn't a traditional love story by any stretch. Though it is filled with music from beginning to end it isn't really a musical. In the traditional musical characters will suddenly burst into song but it represented an interruption in the otherwise semi-realistic tone of the movie--think of Gene Kelly in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. But all the songs in this film are in line with the overall realism of the film, they are all songs that occur in normal life.

    I don't want to reveal much in the way of details about the movie since much of the joy of the film is discovering the ways it defies expectations. In broad outline it is about a street singer who has put his emotional life on cold storage because of a broken heart and the woman he meets who helps him open himself back up to life. During the day in Dublin he sings familiar standards for tips but at night, when the crowds thin out, he sings his own original material. We see him this way for the first time through the eyes of the Girl as she first meets him (in the credits the two lead characters, never addressed by name, are listed as Guy and Girl). He, played by Frames' frontman Glen Hansard, is singing an absolutely stunning song with intense passion. As he finishes, the camera pulls back to reveal her standing there. From thenceforward we see the two of them get to know each other as they perform a string of amazing songs together.

    Neither Glen Hansard nor Markéta Irglová is a professional actor. Hansard did have a prominent role in another great Dublin film about music, THE COMMITMENTS. In that one Hansard played the band's guitarist Outspan Foster, one of the two original members of the band (he is the one who resists the suggestion of the other original member to call their band A Flock of Budgies). In real life, of course, Hansard has long been the resident genius of the great Irish rock band The Frames and both one of the great singers in rock as well as an absolutely brilliant songwriter (neither of which anyone who sees this movie will be inclined to doubt). While visiting Prague a couple of years back he met a precocious teenager who was none other than Markéta Irglová. One thing led to another and within a year of their meeting they recorded and album together entitled THE SWELL SEASON. Next they appeared in this film by John Carney, himself a former member of The Frames. So their time together has been amazingly productive (she also appeared on the critically acclaimed new album by the Frames, THE COST).

    The film is filled with wonderful little moments, like the first meeting (driven by Hansard's magnificent performance of "Say It To Me Now"). Or the way the sound engineer recording the Guy's song goes from disinterest to interest as he realizes just how good he is. Or the marvelous extended shot that follows the Girl from a convenience store where she has bought batteries for a CD player down the street for a few blocks as she sings the lyrics she has written for a song the Guy has written the music for.

    This truly is a very special film. It does not have the greatest production values; indeed, it feels like the low budget that it is. It works because the two leads, while not professional actors, have a wonderful chemistry both romantically and musically and because Glen Hansard is one of the finest songwriters around. In fact, the soundtrack for the film has to go down as one of the greatest soundtracks ever released. I would urge anyone who loves the music in this film to investigate not merely the soundtrack for the film, but both THE SWELL SEASON, the album by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, and two albums by the Frames, FITZCARRALDO and THE COST.

    Update 8/8/07

    I just read today on IMDB.com that Twentieth Century Fox, which owns the distribution rights to the movie, has been so pleased with its performance so far - nearly $7 million in box office on only 140 screens - that they are going to release it to a much larger number of screens and give it a publicity push. Obviously this means that this gem will be granted a much larger audience. Hopefully it will garner the kind of acclaim it deserves....more info
  • hits all the right notes
    This low budget ($200,000) film has won uniformly rave reviews, not to mention the 2007 audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The plot is about as simple as plot can get. An aspiring street musician whose girlfriend left him for London lives above his father's vacuum cleaner repair shop. A younger girl who has moved to Dublin from the Czech Republic after her husband left her hears him play and becomes his motivating inspiration. Their tender friendship is mediated by their mutual love for music, and many people have referred to this film as a musical, what with a dozen or so songs that move the story along. Best of all is a surprise and decidedly ambiguous ending. Actors Glen Hansard of the Dublin-based group The Frames and the Czech singer-songwriter Marketa Irglova (age 17) sing their own songs in this feel-good flick....more info
  • A Real Find. A Beautiful Film.
    "Once" is a real find. The story of a street musician who meets a Czech émigré on the streets of downtown Dublin, is a believable, well-made film about love, dreams and making things happen.

    Guy (Glen Hansard, a real musician who also appeared in the film "The Commitments"), a street busker who sings his heart out on the streets of Dublin, works in his dad's vacuum repair shop. One day, a young lady (Marketa Irglova), a Czech immigrant, begins to ask him questions about his music, his passions, the inspiration for his ballads. They form a friendship and she encourages him to follow his dream and put together a demo album. As the friendship grows, she helps him negotiate a recording studio and practice the songs. In the process, she invites him into her home, to meet her mother and young daughter. During the course of their relationship, they grow closer, but she is still married and can't let anything happen. They round up some other musicians and begin to work on the demo, to help him with his dream.

    "Once", written and directed by John Carney, is a very intimate look at the relationship between these two people. A lot of handheld camera work, close shots and grungy, real locations help to give the film an incredible cinema verite look and style. The camera work is handheld, but not overly shaky, creating shots with an intimate, close appearance, really thrusting us into the middle of the action.

    The relationship between Guy and Girl (as they are listed in the credits) is really an interesting one that draws you into their lives. Initially, the guy is a bit put off by the girl, she is extremely chatty and forthcoming, asking him a lot of questions about his music, why he sings certain songs, the inspiration, etc. As a street musician, he is naturally a little weary about people getting too close, he simply wants them to enjoy a little of the music and drop a couple of coins or bills into his guitar case and leave. So, the young woman who stops to ask questions, in her accented English, is a minor annoyance, until he realizes she is genuinely interested.

    As their relationship grows, he feels a fondness for her, and as a single man, he naturally flirts with her. But when she realizes this is going too far, she gives him a little look, a minor reprimand, and he realizes she is right. They are friends, sharing an experience. And she is married, even if her husband still lives in the Czech Republic and they are having problems.

    As they become friends, they become involved in each other's lives. He meets her mother and daughter, sees where she lives, has dinner at their house. She meets his dad and becomes involved in his making of a demo album.

    When the duo shows up at the recording studio, with their fellow street musicians, the sound engineer greets them, but secretly reveals his true feelings to someone on his cell phone. He has a feeling this group is another example of people with too much ambition and not enough talent; they don't even know the technical details of recording the music. But when they start playing, he recognizes they have talent, the songs are good, and the lead singer, our guy, is quite good, so he becomes engrossed in making the demo as good as possible. He becomes a part of their team, investing part of himself in the production of the demo.

    Part of the beauty of "Once" is that nothing seems forced. They don't have sex, simply to make the story more dramatic. In fact, the course of their relationship seems all the more real because they simply remain friends, close friends invested in each other's lives and livelihood. There aren't any manufactured crises involving her mother and baby or his dad. They simply struggle with real life.

    Also, the music is quite good throughout the film. Guy sings a song, a love ballad he wrote for his girlfriend who moved away to London, a few times, each time making it a little better. Finally, when they record it for the demo, it is as good as it could be, with the girl playing keyboard and singing backup and the addition of the other musicians they have recruited.

    "Once" is a film about the guy following his dream. He wants to make a demo and travel to London, to try to get a contract. But perhaps more importantly, he wants to reunite with his girlfriend. All he needs is a little push, a little support and guidance from a friend. He finds that friendship with the girl, his new friend who helps him realize he should go for his dream.
    ...more info
  • A beautiful ordinary tragedy
    Saw the movie yesterday, when it opened in our local theater. Decided this morning that I needed to look for the soundtrack. Have signed up to be notified when the movie becomes available, because it's that good.

    I'm not a movie critic, but this one is good enough that I want to encourage other folks to see it. It's hard to explain the reasoning without giving too much detail about the story, or building it up too much. But here's what I can say :

    During the movie, I recognized that I was waiting for some tragic event (my wife said as we left the theater that she kept waiting for one of them to die), because that's what would happen in a standard Hollywood movie. How sad that we've grown accustomed to movies that must throw big tragic events at us to create emotional responses because the acting, storywriting, and character development cannot suffice to make us feel emotions on a small scale.

    In "Once", the acting and the story (and the music) develop the characters well enough, and tell a story that is plausible enough, that an ordinary tragedy is sufficient to make the viewer feel genuine and complex emotion. All without trying too hard or backing away from it. That's brilliant. Worth seeing more than once, which is why I want to own it....more info
  • Once
    Splendid, sentamental, charming musical romance with an Irish twist. Set in Dublin without the flashy hollywood glamor or glib quick repartee. Well worth seeing and for "once" not long enough....more info
  • An entirely new kind of musical.
    I haven't seen "Music & Lyrics," the movie in which Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore play a songwriting-romantic pair, but John Carney's "Once" probably can be described as a cross between "Music & Lyrics" and "Brief Encounter." This delicate little tale of the musical collaboration and almost-romance between a thirtysomething Dublin street busker (Glen Hansard) and a young Czech immigrant to Ireland (Marketa Irglova) leaves us breathless with its simplicity and beauty. There's a certain amount of stylization--this is the movies, after all--but not the kind we're used to from movie musicals. The beautiful, melancholy songs--nearly all of them by Hansard and/or Irglova--arise organically from the characters, because they are musicians, and the songs they write are how they express themselves. Hansard and Irglova both have lovely, impassioned singing voices, and as actors they have a natural, unforced charisma. (Irglova is a first-time actress, but viewers may remember Hansard as Outspan, guitarist for "The Commitments.") Carney's hand-held cameras give the film a near-documentary feel that nevertheless doesn't skimp on either sentiment or humor. The film's very first scene, depicting Hansard's attempts while busking to keep an obnoxious drunk from stealing his tips, is laugh-out-loud funny while demonstrating the precariousness of Hansard's existence. "Once" is that rare musical that envelops us in music and beauty while bringing home the tough reality of the characters' lives....more info