Review: “Once”

April 16, 2010

Shot on a shoestring budget and starring two people who had barely acted before in their lives, 2007’s Once has gone on to develop an immense following thanks to its cinéma vérité style, honest storytelling and captivating soundtrack.  A simple story of an Irish street musician (Glen Hansard) who develops a musical relationship with a Czech flower seller (Markéta Irglová), the film is, without a doubt, one of the most honest films about the world of musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing.

Much like a standard musicial, the film allows the songs to further the story, delving into topics like break-ups (“Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy, ” and, “Lies”), a technique which not only showcases each song’s excellence in its entirety, but also provides great framework for show-stoppers like the Oscar-winning, “Falling Slowly, ” an emotional tune that truly gets me every time I hear it.  Even more skillful songwriting makes an appearance during a scene in a recording studio, where the two lay down several songs with the help of a backing band-it is here that we’re fortunate to witness the recording of, “When Your Mind’s Made Up, ” an unbelievable song in 6/8 that gives the soundtrack an additional boost.

As I obviously treasure these songs a great deal, I will not be posting links to videos or mp3s of any of the aforementioned tunes, instead recommending that anyone who reads this blog post take a few hours to watch Once.  I will, however, direct those same readers to the video below, in which Hansard does easily the most incredible cover of Van Morrison’s, “Astral Weeks, ” I’ve ever seen/heard.  Thanks to Tony Memmel for pointing this out!  🙂

At the risk of sounding like the host of Reading Rainbow, if you’re interested in more music from the talented duo that star in Once, do check out The Swell Season, who have released three LPs to date including last year’s Strict Joy.  Hansard has also enjoyed a successful career in his own right, as a member of Irish rock group The Frames and the mastermind behind a wealth of solo recordings.

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2 Responses to “Review: “Once””

  1. sharyn Says:

    love love love this movie. and the soundtrack. do you know I’ve been listening to it on repeat for like the last 6 weeks?

  2. favabean1982 Says:

    I did not! 🙂 I’m going to be checking out another Irish movie soon called The Commitments in which Glen Hansard has a small part as an Irish musician-I’ll let you know how it is!


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