ONCEREVIEW BY DAVE SMITH
Some may call this film a musical. It is not a musical in the
true sense. A movie musical is something that is distinctly American. It was conceived by American movies, developed by
American movies and no one has come close to imitating it. Unfortunately this genre was lost along the way. True movie
musicals are seldom seen anymore. Having said that, we are seeing more films like this one. It has many of the
ingredients of the musical genre but it lacks the slick showmanship, the choreography, the great songs, and the star
power of the past. Audiences today are not able to sufficiently suspend their belief and will not tolerate the prospect
of someone bursting into song in the middle of a dramatic scene. They have lost that ability just as many can not fathom
silent movies today. Too bad.
Once is an Irish movie and sometimes the brogue is hard to understand. However
there is real heart and emotion in this film. Director John Carney, who once was a bass player for a group called "Frames,"
looked up the lead singer of that group, Glen Hansard, and asked him to play the lead. Hansard brought along 17 year old
Markita Irglova (in her film debut). Carney couldn't have picked a better couple to play the leads. The plot is minimal.
It's about a young man who works for his father in a vacuum cleaner shop. He wants to be a recording artist but lacks
confidence and direction. Enter "the girl." (The characters do not have names in this film) The girl inspires him and
directs him to put together a group for a recording session. The unique thing about this film is that the leading man
and woman composed all of the music as well as performed it. Both Hansard and Irglova are terrific. The only problem I
have with this film is that some of the numbers are too long. They go on and on and I found myself saying...enough!!! Let's get
on with the film!!! At least in the old hollywood musicals, there was Busby Berkeley's great choreography to watch or
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers wonderful dancing. In this all you see is the face of the singer shouting out the song for too long
Still this is a movie that is a treat. It's different and the characters are likeable. There is not a happy
ending where they live happily ever after but the girl and the boy experience something together that they will never forget.
That's enough for me.
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