Once (2006)

“Once” (2006)


not touching

Several interesting comments on this film have already remarked many of the good things you can get from this film. Something to do with the mood of the suggested love story, the power of its simplicity, indeed of the simplicity of the whole production, from acting to sets. The story moves you, because you can relate to it and there are not sophisticated apparent devices nor worn out conventions that these guys use to get to us. So this is ultimately a direct honest film. It’s not real, and while in Linklater’s similar experiments one might wonder whether the film is sprinkling out of real life, here the musical insertions don’t allow you to think so. But this is incredibly direct and honest storytelling, and that’s rare and rewarding.

There are a few things worth noticing beyond that. One has to do with the love relation we see on screen. We know it to be implicit, and never assumed all the way. Different languages. The closest we get to an effective conventional date relation is when the girl assumes her love in Czech, a language the boy doesn’t understand, and which the filmmakers assume the majority of the spectators won’t either. That’s the sublimation of the story, more than any musical number, it’s that moment. On the other end of the stick, we have the boy’s attempt at a one night stand. The good thing is how the two different personalities, cultural differences, and postures, are mirrored in their musical backgrounds, and how that merges on screen. The love is in the music, is in what they come up with, how they work around their artistic differences towards a common end. This is truly a beautiful concept. That’s why it was so important that the facts of the story didn’t stop you to appreciate the beauty of the underlying concept. So powerful that these actors (who actually created the songs!) became lovers off screen, in real life. This is a very good case of an on screen relation: it hasn’t happened yet, we see it coming, we are witnesses to it.

Dublin is a witness as well, it’s a great place to film, one where suitably music is an important wheel in its spiritual routine. The sense of place is strong and well achieved here, despite relatively average production values.

The best films, indeed the best art is that connected to powerful ideas, the kind that runs underneath your skin. This is such a film, if the music was truly powerful instead of merely engaging, this might have proved an explosive experience.

My opinion: 4/5

This comment on IMDb


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