Saturday, May 2, 2009
Day Ninety-Five: Once (2006) - Rank 4/5
Though the film received nothing but positive reviews, I abstained from this charming little musical for one major reason: acoustic guitar. It's not that I find it an obnoxious instrument...the problem is that I've been to too many parties. One of the staples of a booze-laden soiree is that some tone deaf clout inevitably starts strumming away in a nonsensical fashion, hoping his disharmonious efforts illicit a "siren's song" effect and cause any intoxicated women within a ten-foot radius to swoon and land atop his member. This is an issue, because I, too, am typically three sheets to the wind at this stage, which means it's time for me to tell crass anecdotes as loudly as possible (while navigating through the alcoholic memory fog along the way). Anything that draws attention away from me is always displeasing. Still, it can be worse...it could just be you and that friend kicking back brews and when that individual starts strumming, you're forced to be "polite" and act like whatever drivel spews out is the most profound shit you've ever heard. So, in short, drunk douchebags have ruined the aura of a perfectly good musical instrument. Wait, how did this start? Oh, "Once!"
Anyway, while I found the music enjoyable, I did not feel a sudden urge to tap my toe in rhythm, much less buy the soundtrack. The attraction of the film to me was the relationship between the two leads. Glen Hansard embodies the down-on-his-luck, endearing street musician and Markéta Irglová is equally as hypnotic as a misanthropic activist. The two build a friendship through playing music together, the unnamed male his guitar and the female, a piano. This relationship could have easily turned schmaltzy as it could have sexual, but it never did either. While the girl finds herself propositioned once, it's a passing moment. Instead, the two share a friendship so close, it's far more romantic that any stereotypical "love story" where the focus is the guy getting the girl. I found it highly reminiscent of one of my favorite "romance" films - "Lost in Translation." Sadly, so many films of the ilk sacrifice such character development for sexual encounters. For that reason, "Once" stands out as a touching and, as cloying as it may sound, enchanting film that even warm the heart of an embittered cynic like me.
Watch the Trailer