Saturday, 20 March 2010

Film Review: ONCE (2006)

Director: John Carney
Running time: 82 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15

UK Release Date: 20th October 2007

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 20th March 2010.


I remember this film winning the Oscar in 2008 for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song. The song was called ‘Falling Slowly’ and I recall seeing a clip from the film of the song being played live on guitar and piano in a music shop. It didn’t have a wide release here in the UK, but thanks to digital TV, I have finally got round to seeing it. I wasn’t disappointed; it’s a really good film with some truly great songs, so great in fact that I bought the soundtrack! Set in Dublin it tells the story of a busker and the immigrant Czech girl he meets.

One evening the Guy, the busker, is playing one of his own compositions when he meets the Girl, we never know their names. She says she’s seen him before, but not playing his own songs. He says that during the day people won’t pay to hear his own songs so he plays well known songs instead. The get talking and she meets him the following day when she takes him to a music store where she’s allowed to play piano for an hour a day. She persuades him to play one of his songs, ‘Falling Slowly’, and she accompanies him on piano. The story goes on to tell how the relationship between the two is affected by events in the past. I really don’t want to give too much away because it’s so much better to watch when you don’t know too much about it.

Tremendous musical performances from both Glen Hansard as the Guy and Markéta Irglová as the Girl, although I don’t think speaking dialogue really came naturally to either of them. Honourable mentions go to Hugh Walsh as Timmy Drummer, Gerard Hendrick as Lead Guitarist, Alaistair Foley as Bassist, Geoff Minogue as Eamon, Bill Hodnett as Guy’s Dad and Danuse Ktrestova as Girl’s Mother.

Over all, a really engaging film with some really great music. If you love ballads, then I can guarantee you a most enjoyable watch. Most of the music is either played live or is integrated really well into the narrative. In fact this bittersweet tale is mostly told through the songs which are interspersed with short pieces of dialogue. If you’re not a romantic or a lover of music, then this is probably not for you. However, it’s definitely recommend for music lovers and romantics alike.

My score: 8.2/10

IMDb Site:
Official Site:

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