My friend Scott was all over this early on, but he’s considerably more culture and music-savvy than I am. I can be hip too, but usually it’s 6-12 months later than everyone else. Just call me “post-hip.”
But you can take my word for it, the movie Once is everything the critics say it is: mesmerizing, enthralling, ethereal, transcendent, and all the other fancy, multisyllabic adjectives that have been used in the hundreds of reviews that have been written. It is a tour de force of powerful storytelling employing a minimalist approach: a shoe-string budget, hand-held cameras and a simple narrative arc told in a naturalistic manner and setting (the streets of Dublin, Ireland). But, ironically, it’s the thread-bare simplicity that lends the project such profound authenticity.
And the music: Oh my! With the soulful, Irish vocalist Glen Hansard on guitar and the charming Czech Marketa Irglova singing and playing piano, it’s a soundtrack that you will want immediately and which will worm its way into your brain for days. Good luck try to get “Falling Slowly” out of your head (not that you’d want to).
I noticed something else too. Once reminded me of Juno in that it gives some meat and heft to what is all-too-often a thin skeleton of a phrase: “Family values.”
Both movies depict characters facing temptations and tough, less-than-ideal circumstances who ultimately work their way through gritty times and “do the right thing.” All that comes in the midst of a small scattering of profanity and f-bombs (the opening scene is a little unnerving in that regard). But by today’s standards, I thought the raw language in Once was relatively mild (perhaps it should have garnered a PG-13 rather than an R-rating) and worth enduring to experience such deep and meaningful narrative and music.
Hansard and Irglova won an Academy Award for Best Original Song this year and are now touring the country on their “Swell Season Tour.” And yes, they’re coming to the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on September 24th and we’ve got tickets (happy birthday, Eyegal)! For you locals, they’ll also be at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee on June 13th.
As you can probably tell, I’m smitten with this movie and its music. For me, “once” is not enough–I need more.