Media Maven: “Once” Movie Review

Media Maven: “Once” Movie Review

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Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova, directed by John Carney

Have you ever thought about going to see a foreign film and resisted; thinking it would be too difficult to understand the language and cultural innuendos of people other than Americans?

Resist no longer and treat yourself just this once. "Once" is a little bijou not to be missed! Currently playing at our very own Esquire Theatre, "Once" is a film that is both charming and filled with the tug of melodious heartstrings. The lead character, Glen Hansard, (and coincidentally the lead singer of the Frames) plays a hard working street performer aspiring to someday record his music and leave his ties to Dublin, his widowed father and his responsibility to the meager family business.

Someday comes in the form of Marketa Inglova and her character as a proud, young woman stretching her own resources to exist. Marketa is a kindred spirit to Hansard. It is evening and she hears Hansard singing his own written, as if emptying his soul into the night without notice of anyone else. She places a dime in his guitar case and wants to know why he doesn’t sing these songs during the day, and more importantly, has he recorded any. Teasing her, he says something akin to “I won’t get very far on a dime.”

Her persistence and his resistance to letting anyone into his life and letting go of a broken heart is the basis of this story. But what makes this film so poignant and magnetic is the way director John Carney lets this unsuspecting romance unravel framed in beautiful melodies and lyrics.

Just as in a good thriller where a captivated audience is so riveted that collectively all can hear a pin drop; this movie held the audience in the same enduring thrall. As the leads create their music, all attention and pleasure was given way to the affecting eloquence of their pure, refined talent. 

Scenes creating the passion and ardor expressed through music in this film are conveyed richly by the look on Hansard’s face as he listens to Inglora singing a song of her own; as if words could never  express  the heartache of the soul.

All too often we have been subjected to Hollywood  “Happily ever after” movies. Here is a gem that is at "Once" enduring and genuine in telling a story of two people coming together through their mutual love of music and their search for meaning in their lives.

"Once" is a winner. May I suggest afterwards enjoying a nightcap at Biagios Bistro which is just a few stores down from the theatre? Try Biagios handmade chocolate covered cream puffs and I guarantee you will go back more than once.

Rating: Five Chic Stars

Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.