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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Once is not Enough

Published: August 31, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

I did not want to see Once.

My friend, who had seen the film three times already dragged me along and against my better judgment, I found myself paying for a ticket and attempting to locate a seat in the already darkened theater.

The film ended up being exactly what I had expected: a long, depressing visual music album without much speaking at all.

Yet, no matter how hard I tried to dislike the movie (and believe me, I gave it my all), I fell in love.

I had never before witnessed a movie with such incredible honesty;

nothing was buttered down or hyperbolized.

Every moment and character was raw and unassuming.

Every song was beautiful, powerful, and wonderfully different from the others. I was stunned.

Director John Carney states on the films website,, that his intention was to make an original film, almost like a visual album, but with a realistic, modern love-story at its heart.

“We're in a world where a three-minute song is worth ten pages of dialogue;

where the characters communicate more through the art of song than by talking or getting involved in traditional plot-points and dramatic situations.

After reading about the origins of Once on, I finally understood how such honesty was possible.

Carney had once been in the Irish band the Frames with Glen Hansard, the male star of the movie. Hansard went on to meet Marketa Irglova while on hiatus in the Czech Republic.

The fact that the three had such a history with each other adds so much to the genuineness of the film.

Another important element that Hansard and Irglova brought to the film was that they are not professional actors by any means. Carney cast them knowing that their past experiences would make them best suited to portray the two characters.

On, Hansard states, What I liked about the film was the biographical aspect [] I didn't have to act, I knew Marketa Irglova, John had been the bass player in my band for years. So there were a lot of parallels between the film and my life.

“He knew all my stories because he was right in the middle of it. There was a safety net and it felt comfortable.

The result is marvelous. There are numerous points in the film where I found myself forgetting that it was just that: a film. Its shot with a long lens and has the feel of a low-budget documentary.

Carney succeeded in his quest;

the movie grabbed me with the first opening song and lead me on a rollercoaster of gorgeous music until the perfect ending.

I would recommend the movie to anyone who has a love of music and is willing to give this very unique movie a try.

The Embassy Cinema in Waltham is currently showing Once today at 2:50 p.m., 5:20 p.m. and 7:45 pm.. For more information, call (781) 893-2500.