- Actors: Glen Hansard, Hugh Walsh, Marketa Irglova
- Directors: John Carney
- Format: PAL, Widescreen, Colour
- Subtitles: Italian
- Dubbed: Italian
- 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
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Run Time: 83 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (416 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B0041KWB52
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 588,912 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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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 shes 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 --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
"That's it, a bittersweet love story with ravishing Hansard music ("Falling Slowly" is a killer) and the ache of romance in its soul. Nothing about this mood piece should work -- the budget is shoestring and the actors are inexperienced. But Once brims with small pleasures that pay major dividends." Peter Travers
'Once' has an easy lovable charm that grows on us as we view this film.
Recommended. prisrob 05-08-13
*minor spoilers within*
Do you like music? No, let me rephrase that. Does music possess you, move you, excite you and make you feel like nothing else? Andy Dufresne in the Shawshank Redemption understood. If the answer is yes, you will get this film.
If you like your music packaged and your performers manufactured and given an image to make their product sell, this might not be for you.
Once is about a guy (we never learn his name) who busks on the streets of Dublin when he's not helping his dad repair vacuum cleaners. By day, he plays familiar songs. People give him money because they recognise the songs. By night, he plays his own material. It possesses him. He lives and breathes it. He's a conduit for this powerful expression of emotion.
He's not an actor, he's a musician (The Frames) and had a role in The Commitments.
While playing one of the songs at night, a girl (we never learn her name either) sees him performing and gives him 10c. She asks if he'll repair her vacuum cleaner.
She's not an actress either. She's a musician from the Czech Republic. The two have a real-life relationship.
A friendship is formed. She can play classical piano. They play a song together. Will their relationship become a romantic one, or is music and friendship the only thing they will share?
She helps him. He helps her. Stuff happens. Wonderful stuff.
This film captures what it's like to be a musician. If you meet the first description I mentioned above, you could easily love this film. There are so many memorable scenes. I thought about it for at least a week after I first saw it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sweet film, but. A little too much music - and NO KISSING. A love story of sorts then. But. Ultimately hollow.Published 4 days ago by Andy Graham, Truro
It is simple, delicate and, yet strong and visceral. And the soundtrack is great.Published 1 month ago by Daniel Souza
Love this film. I buy it for presents and watch it myself once a year. Great music and more unusual storyline than most. Feels very natural.Published 2 months ago by Ms. Jane Knight
Fantastic true story, great songs and delivery was quick by sellerPublished 2 months ago by lynne woodford