Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Accidental Musical: Once

There is absolutely nothing new in Once, but the way it combines old elements in new ways makes it feel like an accidental film, as though no one involved quite knew what they were doing and were as surprised to find what they had as the audience who eventually saw it. Once is basically a boy-meets-girl, girl-meets-boy story combined with a struggling-artist-finds-his-muse-and-makes-good story. Or, if you prefer, it’s Brief Encounter for the emo set. Also, it’s more-or-less a musical. And if you haven’t stopped reading yet, it’s way, way better than it sounds, easily one of the best films of this young year so far. It’s one of the few works of art to understand how intimate and vulnerable an act it is to share some small creation you’ve slaved over with someone else.

Once tells the story of a guy (Glen Hansard of the Irish band The Frames) who’s struggling as a street musician, performing songs by Van Morrison and other favorites by day and his own stuff by night when no one’s around to listen. One night, he meets a girl (Mark√©ta Irglov√°) who tosses him a small sum and then asks if he can fix her vacuum cleaner (his day job is working as a vacuum repairman with his father). When she stops by the next day with her vacuum, he finds out she can play the piano, and the two mesh almost instantly. You can probably surmise where the story goes from there, as the duo begin writing songs and lyrics that are more about their growing feelings for each other, and form a small band to record a demo. But the film isn’t just a simple romantic comedy/musical, as it takes seriously the complications inherent in any relationship between bruised adults (both are nursing old relationships that went bad).
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There's more here.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I love The Frames, and I have Glen & Marketa's album The Swell Season and it's great as well. I am DYING to see this movie but because of my ADD I had forgotten all about it. Thanks for the link, I am now going to make a point to see it this weekend!