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John Carney's 'Once': An unforgettable masterpiece

Sundance Film Festival promotional poster for Once.
Sundance Film Festival promotional poster for Once.
Sundance Film Festival

Of all the Irish romance-musicals one will ever see, John Carney's Once may very well top them all. Heck, forget the specifics, it may very well top any musical one will ever see. The film is funny, touching, and at times just downright powerful. Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová—the film's stars—are a peerless musical duo. Many of the songs from their 2006 album The Swell Season, make up the soundtrack, such as Falling Slowly (the hit single from the film), Lies, When Your Mind's Made Up, and Leave. The amount of emotion Hansard puts into writing these songs is unmatched, and is very apparent as he and Irglová perform them.

The movie is about a nameless man (Hansard, credited as "Guy"), who spends the better part of his days busking the streets of Dublin, and fixes vacuum cleaners at his father's Hoover shop on the side. One day he is approached by "Girl" (Irglová), who hears his songs every day as she sells various merchandise on the street. After roping him into lunch with her, it is revealed that she is also a musician (a pianist), and she invites Hansard to hear her play in a piano shop. Following this is one of the most unforgettable scenes (and songs) in the entire movie. As Irglová and Hansard play Falling Slowly, chills will crawl over you skin. The raw emotion of this song bleeds from Hansard's every pore, and Irglová's harmonies only increase the intensity. Other unforgettable songs throughout the film include All the Way Down, When Your Mind's Made Up, The Hill, and many others. As the two grow closer through their music, their relationship strengthens. They learn each others' pasts, dreams, pains, and secrets, and as viewers, we find ourselves hoping with all that we are that the two admit their true feelings to each other.

Once is a movie recommended to anyone. It is one of the most memorable films one will ever see, and is one you will find yourself watching many times after your first. The music is superb, the story is unforgettable, and it leaves an impression that comes, truly, once in a lifetime.

Once on IMDb