This is a movie I would never have picked up. Trisha put it on the Netflix queue because Chelsea said to do so. Chelsea is into music, musicians and the music business. Trisha said it was a musical. And I can’t stand musicals, can’t watch them, never get into them.
In my car, I don’t even turn on the radio. I don’t have an iPod. I own about 30 CDs. I am just not much of a music guy, unless, of course, the music is by Bob Dylan or Neil Young or Rachmaninoff or Beethoven.
I don’t know why the movie is titled Once. It plays in Dublin, Ireland. The characters don’t even have names, and there is very little dialog. Of the dialog there is, I don’t understand half of it. Trisha understands hardly any of it; she always has a hard time with foreign accents, even other English accents. It could use subtitles, but that would take it all away. Since you don’t have to listen to the words much. Everything is told via songs.
The guy, who doesn’t have a name, is a street musician and songwriter who loves his music, and works by day in his dad’s vacuum cleaner repair shop. The girl, who also doesn’t have a name, loves his music and plays the piano, but is too poor to own one, so she goes to a music store and plays the floor models. She is a Czech immigrant and takes odd jobs cleaning people’s houses. They pick up a few other street musicians, borrow some money and record a few songs. He goes off to London on a quest to sell his music.
This movie works, the beginning works and draws me in, even though I am completely prejudiced and I am only sitting there watching the beginning to be polite. The ending works. And when it’s over I sit there and I want to hear more of their music. I want to buy their album. I don’t want it to end. His songs are good.
Four stars for Chelsea to tell us to watch this, Trisha to put it into the player, and to John Carney for writing and directing this movie.
Check Ebert’s review for more details.