Friday, 11 March 2016

Once

Once; drama / musical, Ireland, 2007; D: John Carney, S: Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, Hugh Walsh

One guy is a street musician, performing with his guitar on the streets of Dublin. After a bad night, he is approached by a Czech girl who is also an unemployed musician, and has to earn money through selling flowers in order to support her mother and daughter. The guy falls in love with her, and they even perform a duet, but she informs him that she is technically still married, and only temporarily separated from her husband. The guy record a demo of his songs and is contacted to go to London to publish his songs. Before leaving, he buys a piano to the girl, who is reunited with her old husband.

A surprising independent hit, John Carney's drama with singing, "Once" is an ode to little people following their dreams, stripped down to its essence, and it mostly works, though such minimalistic approach also resulted in a few shortcomings, obvious in the too simplistic storyline about a guy and a girl musician falling in love - too much time is actually spent on the singing of the two protagonists and too little on their character development. The songs are great, and the chemistry between Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova is almost palpable, which adds to the emotionality of "Once", whereas a few moments are charming and fresh (when the hero finally plays his song in front of his father at their home, he understandably waits to hear his reaction, and is surprised when his dad just simply shouts: "That was fantastic!"), yet, in the end, one wishes that the film showed just a tiny bit more ingenuity, creativity and imagination, since it unravels rather ordinary and the songs can only go so far, no matter how good they are.

Grade;++

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