'Once' (2007). Set in Dublin, this drama teams up a singer who plays his guitar on the street for cash with a younger Czech girl who can hold her own, and more, on the piano and vocals. Their first meeting comes across the screen as real and so does their budding friendship. That’s what makes this film feel so authentic--the pace of it and how much more complex both characters’ lives are because of others in them. The movie is about relationships and music...both raw and still incomplete. But make no mistake, this film is about music first and foremost. The lyrics. The collaboration. The album.
Like most brilliant stories, the script’s dialogue carries this film. Both characters are so well-developed that viewers will feel connected to them...and you’ll be surprised at the movie’s end that you didn’t even know their names! The supporting cast also delivers realism with glimpses into the different family cultures while at the same time illustrating the common bond between a parent and child.
This film feels different for a reason. The two main stars composed and performed the original songs in the movie. Neither star had an acting background prior to this picture and their chemistry continued off-screen. The director gave both leading stars his own salary and promised the other cast members shares if the movie succeeded. Made on a budget of only $160,000 and filmed in 17 days, this movie earned $20 million at the box office, received a Grammy nomination, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. By far, one of my Top 10 movies I’ve seen this past year. Go rent it. And go listen to it. You’ll be glad you did. Grade: A.
'Once' is Rated R for Language and is 1 hour, 26 minutes in length.