Sunday, September 23, 2007

Review: Once

One of the frustrations of living in the wilds of Southeast Tennesse is that we rarely get to see "arty" "lauded" films except on DVD. When the top ten films list of any year comes out, I might have had the opportunity to see half of them. So I had resigned myself to the idea that I would have to wait to see "Once" sometime next year. But, amazingly, our Arts and Entertainment Council brought it to town as part of the Independent Film Series! Yeah.

"Once" is the story of two struggling musicians who meet when the Guy (and that's as close to a name as he gets) is performing on a street corner and is approached by the Girl. It's set in Dublin, but the Girl is an immigrant, coming to Ireland from the Czech Republic. They end up in a music store, where she plays one of his original songs on a demo piano. Chemistry! They decide to write a few songs together, and then to record them as a demo.

This really is a musical, although a very unconventional one. The music flows naturally from the story; it actually took me a few numbers to realize they weren't just singing, that the songs were progressing the story. The two leads play well together, and they also wrote and performed all of their songs, quite unusual.

It was a pleasant little film, only around 90 minutes long, but it certainly didn't live up to the hype for me. I have two friends who had actually already seen in twice, so I may have had too high expectations. If you go expected a nice, comfortable, bittersweet story, you won't be disappointed. But if you go expecting to see "one of the best" of the year, you might be disappointed. I was.



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