Once – Review

Once is a movie that every single one of my movie friends asked if I’d seen. I also saw it listed on all those “Top Movies No One Ever Saw” lists the critics put out. So going into it, I had some pretty high expectations.

If you’ve not heard by now, Once is a musical. No, not that kind of musical. This is about as far away from John Travolta in drag as you can get. And by my standards, that’s a good thing. Instead, Once takes you along the life of a guy with a guitar (pictured on the poster). As Guy moves through life, he writes songs that just happen to relate to whatever situation he’s in. The songs blend naturally into the storyline, so you’ll not find any backup dancers that pop into scene as he’s watering the man-eating plant.

The somewhat observant of you probably noticed the girl on the poster, too. Yes, Once is a love story. But you won’t find our hero composing songs in his underground lair while hiding his freakish face with half a mask. Instead, what you get is a simple story of a guy and a girl with all the messiness and complications of love. The two of them don’t even have names. They are listed as Guy and Girl in the credits — a sign that the movie is intended to transcend the specifics of the story.

And you know what? Everything works. The music is fantastic. So good, I’m tempted to buy the soundtrack next time I’m out shopping. The acting is great. The story is sweet and messy and real all at the same time. So should you rent this? Absolutely. Will you love it? Hard to say without giving away too much of the story. But you still need to see it.

One word of caution here. The guy is Irish and the girl is Czech. Sure, they speak English, but you may need subtitles or a couple beers to get past the accents. So ladle yourself up some Guinness, settle in with your significant other (or cat) and check this one out.

Grade: B+

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