Monday, May 21, 2007


Saw a terrific little movie this weekend called Once. It's a low budget musical of sorts, shot in Dublin. It stars two wonderful actors you've never heard of, and is romantic in a way you don't often see in more Hollywood films.

Our hero, an unnamed Irishman in his thirties, works by day in his father's "Hoover Repair" shop. But whenever he's able, he plays for the crowds in the center of Dublin on the streets, singing passionately personal songs on his guitar. One day, a cute immigrant from the Czech Republic stops by and asks some perceptive questions about his songs. Soon they are harmonizing like old friends on his songs. Both are in difficult places in their romantic life, and they struggle with their feelings for each other in heartfelt song and amusing, sweet exchanges.

This is the sort of musical where the music doesn't feel imposed or unreal at any moment. Both actors are relatively untrained and unknown, but they have a lovely instinctive style that works beautifully. The movie doesn't go quite where you'd expect, but once you get there, it feels completely right. I'm not much of a sucker for romantic films - most Hollywood stuff is too sappy for me. But this little gem works on every level. It's out only in selected cities, but keep your eyes peeled...

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