Movie Love: ‘Once’

Hi there! It’s taken me a little while to get back into the swing of things for the new year, but here I am. After looking back at my posts of 2010 I realized that this blog was beginning to morph into a music blog, not the all around music, movies, tv that I had originally planned for. That’s ok I guess, I’m going with the flow. However, I would like to balance it out a little bit, so for my first post of 2011 I thought I’d write about ‘Once’. A movie…about music. Baby steps, right? (It worked so well for Bill Murray in “What About Bob?”)

‘Once’ is a lovely, small-scale indie film about two musicians finding their way. They are both in kind of transitional phases in their lives, and both lonely. After one or two scenes, the movie really gets started with ‘Guy’ standing on his own in the middle of a dark Dublin street singing his heart out. The camera slowly zooms in as the song he’s singing becomes more and more intense. One scene in and the emotion of Guy singing ‘Say It to Me Now‘ is enough to almost move you to tears. When he finishes his song the camera zooms back out, only to discover that he has gained an audience of one, ‘Girl’.

This random meeting on the street proves to be the beginning of a beautiful journey between two kindred spirits. These two people are able to develop such a deep and meaningful relationship through their musical endeavors. Not only is the music simply breathtaking, it also acts almost as a third main character in the film, bringing the two main characters closer to one another. One of my favorite scenes of the movie is when the Guy and Girl get together and play ‘Falling Slowly’ in a music shop. The placement of this song in the story is a an absolutely perfect way to express their budding relationship. It expresses so much. (See a wonderful performance of this song below.)

Another aspect that makes this movie so great is that the lead characters were not played by actors, but by real life musicians with no prior acting experience. I can see how this could have been disastrous, but instead of going terribly wrong, it catapulted the movie to a whole new level. Glen Hansard is the front man of his band, The Frames and Marketa Irglova is a singer/songwriter. The whole movie was shot almost documentary style, which was started to keep Glen and Marketa comfortable in front of the camera, but grew into the predominant style for the movie. To make it feel even more real, Marketa and Glen were actually falling in love while filming. (Awwww!) Everything about this movie just feels so truly authentic, and that is one of the reasons it is so wonderful.

The music in this movie, and Glen Hansard’s music in general, is so full of emotion. I love listening to him sing because he has a way of letting you feel exactly what’s he’s feeling and it gets me every time. Some of the songs in ‘Once’ had already been written for The Frames, but both lead actors/musicians wrote new songs for the film. What resulted was one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard and a new musical collaboration between Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova called, The Swell Season.

The Swell Season (By the way, I LOVE his guitar! Look how loved it is!)

I love everything about this movie. The entire thing gives me goosebumps. If you want a movie that is heartfelt and real please give ‘Once’ a shot. Keep an eye out for ‘Once’ the Broadway play, too! I can’t wait for that! Also, be sure to look into music by The Frames and Swell Season, including the Oscar-winning soundtrack to ‘Once.’

One last thing: You can see an entire 35 minute Swell Season NPR Tiny Desk Concert here. It is totally worth checking out.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading!



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. iamloislane
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 10:04:13

    I loved this film so much! I had a friend recommend the soundtrack, bought it, loved it, then saw the film. Great review too. 🙂


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