16 June 2007
Finally- FINALLY- I got the chance to see Once, a film which wowed Sundance and has taken its sweet time making its way to local theaters. The trailer promises it to be one of the best films of this generation... and it isn't far off.
The film takes place in Dublin over the course of several days and is based solely around the relationship between two musicians (played by actual musicians: Glen Hansard of the Frames and Czech singer/song writer Marketa Irglova). While one nevers learn their characters' names, the movie simply makes it an irrelevant detail- why fill in the blank with a random monicker? What is relevant- what is real- is the chemistry, potential, and music (oh, the music!) created by these two lonely and extremely talented people.
Hansard (credited simply as "guy"), plays a street musician-cum-vacuum repairman and Irglova ("girl"), is a Czech immigrant maid and musician. They meet lightheartedly on the street and discover more about each other through circumstance and the commonality of music. Performing their first duet in an empty music store, it's as obvious as the ginger beard on Hansard's face that these two are an amazing pair.
As the film goes on however, we find that these people are more complex than we previously thought- each with their own ties to other people. As seemingly perfect as they are for each other, are these two destined for each other?
The film is simple and graceful. It never feels forced, which is truly rare in a movie that contains so many musical numbers. It has a few clumsy moments with musical flashbacks, but all is forgiven... because the music is way too amazing for us to nitpick. Sometimes gripping and heartbreaking, other times fun and bouncy, the soundtrack was written by Hansard and Irglova especially for the film. Highlights: "Falling Slowly," "When Your Mind's Made Up" (both featured in the trailer), the playful duet "Fallen From The Sky," and "If You Want Me," a gorgeous vocal performance by Irglova.
Maybe more than any other, we are a generation weaned on music. This may be the best film about music we have- and not just for its great soundtrack; it is a film that is both inspired by life and inspires life... and man- that's all we've got.