Archive for October, 2007

Movie Review: Once

October 10, 2007

Once poster

I saw this working-class Irish musical in Beverly’s fabulous one-screen Cabot Street Cinema. I hadn’t been in the theater since I saw Le Grand David‘s spectacular magic show as a child. Still running after 31 years, Le Grand David’s troupe runs this cinema in stylish theatrical tradition: a tuxedoed usher opens the door for visitors, while the ticket taker/candy counter gal seems to have stepped out of a gypsy fortune-telling tent. The theater itself is gorgeously archaic, with gilded corinthian columns and large-scale Greek murals. In such a distracting milieu, Once had no difficulty grabbing and holding my attention. At this film’s core are two grounded effortless performances from Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, the starring duo who also wrote and performed the film’s ever-present music. They meet in a chance encounter while he is busking on a Dublin Street; their relationship progresses via repeated musical production sessions to an intense romance with zero physicality. A modern morality tale, Once realistically portrays what happens when two emotionally baggaged individuals meet and click. While Hansard’s heart-broken Joe-Cocker-esque lyrics may prove tiresome at times, Irglova, in a truly brilliant film debut, dominates the screen with a quiet contemplatude that left me wanting much more. The story and songs are immediately fresh and vibrant and can win over even the staunchest of musical-haters. This is a film that deserves to be seen and John Carney is a filmmaker to watch. Grade: A.