Last week, Zeek posted over at The Way I See It a music video for “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once. After the performance and heartfelt acceptance speeches by the two main actors at this year’s Academy Awards, I had to finally give the movie a shot.
I absolutely loved this film. The story is simple and the plot minimal–but that is all part of its heart-on-its-sleeve charm. Once is a film that follows an unnamed guy musician who works a day job helping his father repair Hoover vacuum cleaners, but also moonlights playing his busted guitar singing his own music on a busy street in Dublin. An unnamed girl who also happens to be a musician stops one day after Guy sings a particularly moving song (I love the camera work for this part). She asks him who he wrote the song for, and tells him that he’s very good. Guy ends up talking to Girl for a bit, and the next day she is back out on the street with her busted hoover vacuum cleaner for him to fix. They get to know each other a bit more–Girl reveals that she frequents a nearby music store to play the piano (since she can’t afford one), and together they improvise that beautiful song “Falling Slowly”. Guy realizes that he and Girl have something good going on that he can’t pass up, musically, and together they work on getting into an open studio and recording a demo.
The movie takes place over the course of a week, in which both Guy and Girl find each other through music, and also connect in a sweet romance. A review of this movie from the New York Times explains that not all romances have to end at the altar–which is a perfectly apt description for Once. This movie is a triumph of a modern day musical, so much more poignant than any of the flashier varieties to have recently graced the big screen (say, for example the 2007 release Across the Universe). While the story is exceedingly simple and the climax seems…well, not very climatic, as it focuses on the demo recording, the movie just works. The exceptional soundtrack, the raw passion and finnesse that both leads pour into their roles makes this labor of love worth watching more than just once.