Finally caught up with Once the other day, a movie that I hadn’t heard a lot about, but everything I had heard convinced me that it was worth a look.
Quick synopsis: Lonely just-been-dumped Guy (Glen Hansard) meets just-immigrated-to-Ireland Girl (Marketa Irglova). They meet when Guy is busking and Girl asks him to fix her vacuum cleaner. He works in a hoover shop – this is not a completely random request! Spending the following day together, they discover a shared interest in music and Girl learns one of Guy’s songs on the piano. Guy decides to record some of his music and Girl agrees to help.
The highlight of this movie is the music that Guy and Girl make together over the course of a few days, music which indicates the pain they both feel over recent events in their separate lives, and also helps them forge a strong bond in a short period of time.
The film was made on only $160,000 and I love the homemade quality that it has, making it a more intimate experience. I also think it gives it a stripped down feeling that mirrors the lack of bullshit in the relationship between Guy and Girl – they are completely honest and open with each other even though they have only just met, which is rare and refreshing.
One of my favourite scenes is when Guy and Girl play ‘Falling Slowly’ in a piano shop. Guy plays his battered guitar and Girl quickly picks up the melody on the piano, singing along as she becomes more confident. It’s a beautiful song in which you learn of Guy’s pain and Girl’s passion for the piano.
My other favourite scene is when they go to the recording studio. Eamon (Geoff Minogue) the studio engineer writes them off completely when he discovers that they’ve never recorded anything before and spends his time reading the paper with a bored expression on his face. Once they are ready to record, the first song they lay down is ‘When Your Mind’s Made Up’. About halfway through you see Eamon grinning ruefully to himself as he shrugs and starts pressing buttons on his mixing desk. It’s a great moment in the middle of a very intense song.
A beautiful movie that showcases both the acting and musical talents of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Highly recommended.