Unless things go very, very well in the next few days, Once is destined to be a part of my top 10 list next week, and is also out on DVD today. Buy a copy for yourself and a hard to buy for Christmas person.
An Irish emo-rock musical made for next to nothing, this movie rises so beyond its classifications. Every ounce of Once is obviously a product of some very passionate people, and it’s a downright lovely experience to watch it.
And for those afraid of the musical, its not a conventional one. There’s no breaking into song for no reason. The singing is actually taking place within the story, with good reason, and unlike over produced Hollywood re-dos like Dreamgirls or Chicago, there’s no flashy editing or fancy dubbing. Once gives you exactly what its got, right there in front of you. Not only does it once again prove you don’t need a jillion dollars to make a great movie (or even a hundred thousand), but it really shows how powerful the mediums of film and music can be when they are simply joined together without any lights & magic.
In summary: The songs are catchy (but not in an annoying way), the performances are charming (but still remarkably true-to-life), and, though I hate to go there, it’s truly a perfect date movie.
One strange thing that I noticed when looking at the DVD, though: The cover is basically a rehash of the movie poster, with some odd changes. Glen Hansard is wearing a completely different outfit (looks a bit hipper, now, no?) and him and Marketa’s hands are now touching (which I could bitch about but it might spoil things, if that didnt already).
Look at the two options: