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Once [DVD]

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Once [DVD] + Once: Music From The Motion Picture + Once: A New Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
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Product details

  • Actors: Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, Hugh Walsh, Gerard Hendrick, Alaistair Foley
  • Directors: John Carney
  • Writers: John Carney
  • Producers: David Collins, Martina Niland
  • Format: DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Icon Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Feb. 2008
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (281 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ZK9SQM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 565 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Inspirational drama about two kindred spirits who find each other on the bustling streets of Dublin. One (Glen Hansard) is a street musician who lacks the confidence to perform his own songs. The other is a young mother (Marketa Irglova) trying to find her way in a strange new town. As their lives intertwine, they discover each other's talents and push one another to realise what each had only dreamt about before.


Winner of the World Audience Award at Sundance, Once starts out as a small-scale romance, like Before Sunrise, before arriving somewhere unexpected. An Irish busker (Glen Hansard, the Frames and The Commitments) meets a Czech flower seller (Markéta Irglová) while singing on the streets of Dublin. (In the credits, they're listed as Guy and Girl.) She likes what she hears and lets him know. Turns out she's a musician, too. They work on a few songs together and a friendship is forged. She lives with her widowed mother, who doesn't speak English. He lives with his widowed father, who owns a repair shop. Since he broke up with his girlfriend, the guy has been drifting, unable and unwilling to get his life in order. The girl encourages him to pursue a record deal, and the guy emerges from his funk. Then he makes a move on the girl, who rejects his advances. He's confused, but as he comes to find, there's a reason she’s keeping her distance. Though Once is filled with appealing folk-pop by Hansard and Irglová (released on CD as The Swell Season), the movie isn't a traditional musical, but rather a more optimistic Brief Encounter. Filmmaker John Carney, Hansard's former bandmate, captures the real city--in all its affluence and poverty--rather than the picture postcard version. His beautifully shot film serves as a heartfelt ballad about all the underclass Guys and Girls swept aside amidst Ireland's economic miracle. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Dec. 2007
Format: DVD
I saw the trailer for this on the internet, and liked the idea immediately: busker boy meets girl and they make beautiful music together. Conscious that this wasn't perhaps the first time that this storyline had been used, I wondered how they'd fare at steering past the obvious cliches, but I'd never have imagined they could be so wildly successful.

The hand-held camera makes you feel like you're watching a couple in the street, but they're so believable in their roles that you never suspect them of just acting. This is hard to do without some of the more obvious trappings of film, but it's totally compelling - just watch the subtle way Glen Hansard's character tries to master his confusion when he meets the girl's family in her bedsit. Or the way in which he teaches her his first song, which has to be the most accurate portrayal of this kind of scene I've ever seen. Or the final scene with his father, which appears to sum up the depths of a complex relationship with just a few lines.

Much of the film is given over to a careful attention on the music, with a generosity that's repayed many times over - there's a central, unbroken shot of her walking back from the corner shop late at night quietly singing to herself that seems to take a long time, but you realise that's just how it should be. To be sure, the instinct for avoiding cliche slips up sometimes: I wasn't surprised at the speed with which the recording engineer went from being cynical to impressed (though I was a bit surprised that the first song the busker decided to lay down was in 5/4, which is hard to dance to, at least).

But, especially considering the contrast with the previous film I saw Glen Hansard in (the disappointing Commitments, which had great music but lousy acting), I don't think I've seen such a beautiful piece of work for a very long time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Stephen Kennedy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Mar. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I watched this film on a recommendation from a friend.. it did not have obvious immediate appeal, and as I started watching it, it was clearly made on a budget, in a city I was unfamiliar with and with characters I was unsure about. This is no amateur movie though, and all of those concerns were blown out of the water as the movie progressed - the core desires and concerns of these people were universal, the city had both its own character and yet played an `everywhere', a recognisable inner city anyone could relate to. The songs were engaging because they were heartfelt, and always in the context of the movie. In short, it was heartwarming, thought provoking, surprising and lyrical.
The two characters at the core of the story find a bond in their music - they share a piece of their soul through the music, and their time together helps each of them find their next step in life. And that is really about it, story-wise. The style has the hand held reality of Before Sunrise / Before Sunset [DVD], with a similar sense of apparent freewheeling improvisation - but like the songs, this is carefully crafted, and does not cheat on your growing care for the characters by having an unreal Hollywood style ending. To say hand held and `reality imbued' might make you concerned it is lacking ambition - far from it. The director has some real bravura moments, albeit low key ones, such as the hand held camera tracking a walk back from the shop listening to a song, oblivious to the world around her, or the final shot in the window.
Labelled a musical, I watched this as a drama about two people and their interactions, which just happens to have a lot of songs in it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andy Caddy on 17 Feb. 2009
Format: DVD
This is a lovely little film built on a simple premise and all the better for it. There are no pretensions here - it's low budget and looks it and that is the point. The songs bind everything together and are cracking tunes if you like your folksy singer songwriter stuff. It's romantic and engaging and at less than 1:30 it's over before you know it. Beautiful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Collis on 12 April 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved this film. The story is essentially a love story, though never conventional. It is intricately delivered through the most beautiful music, which refreshingly, is part of the fabric of the story and not the product of the director's arrogance. The characters are totally believable and the passion felt through the delivery of the music is tangible and throughout the film it is the things that are left unsaid, or the things that don't happen, that take this film to a deeper level.

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are perfectly cast and create a totally believable story. The camera shots add to the effect creating a degree of intimacy between the watchers and the watched and it is as though we are voyeurs observing the journey made by both characters through their meeting. Each is the catalyst to change in the other and the beautiful lyrics and music are the wheels that transport them, on both their joint and very individual journeys.

There isn't one thing that I would change about this film. All the characters are a perfect fit and the scene where Hansard presents the finished product to his Dad at the kitchen table, is heartwarming and it is the little things that allow us to see the strength of this relationship between father and son.

This is a beautiful film and I just want to watch it again and again. I can't recommend it enough - oh, and don't forget the soundtrack from the film. I am currently either watching or listening and Glen Hansard is my new legend - how did I get to 47 years old and not know about him? (Try out The Frames too!)
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