MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +4

Content: +1/2

Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova. Romantic musical drama. Written & directed by John Carney.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Struggling with lifes obstructions, an Irish vacuum repairman who yearns to sell his music and an Eastern immigrant meet and find their love of music draws them into a romantic relationship.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I have a great deal of positive to assert concerning this film, but allow me to get the negative stated first. The film has a limited budget feel, with an unsteady camera movement throughout that drives this reviewer crazy. This particular camera gimmick started out in the action/adventure genre then spread throughout the industry as if filmmakers had found the Utopian way of shooting pictures. Its supposed to give a scene movement, energy. It should however, be used sparingly. Like the abundant use of obscenity in a screenwriters pallet, this use of moving camera has lost its originality and only serves to say the artist is limited in his abilities. As for obscenity, the f-word is used throughout this film. Evidently, the Irish poor use it even more than the American rich. Its excessive, though Ill grant it does reveal the characters inner frustrations in this film. The other dialogue is crisp, involving and helps give full dimension to the people on screen.

Okay, heres what I liked about this film. It is a musical, but both the main characters are musicians and the music doesnt come out of nowhere. Its part of their lives as they find themselves creating music together. As for the music itself, its not hummable like the scores of My Fair Lady or The Sound of Music, but it is extremely soulful. The male lead sings from his gut, not his throat. And what are they singing about? Not politics yea! (Used to love Nora Jones until the 20-something songstress decided to set us all straight concerning how we are governed.) Both sing about life and how the loves of their lives have affected them. Its still the most powerful emotion that can be set to music - unrequited love. Anybody remember Sinatras One For My Baby? Or his Angel Eyes? Thats what theyre singing about here.

Heres another positive about this film. Its not about going to bed together. They dont do that here. Like Bill Murrays Lost in Translation, Once is about two people connecting. Lonely, the man does make the suggestion after only one day with the girl, but she makes it clear thats not going to happen. Shes already made that mistake, leading to childbirth. Though she adores her little girl and is a responsible mother, she has no intention of having another out of wedlock. And she is concerned about the little one not having a father.

The man is sensitive to others. When he catches himself using some raunchy language in front of a lady, he apologizes. Both have positive relationships with their parents. Indeed, these are good people.

Lastly, theres the films ending. It is exceptional. A bit melancholy, but very moving. This is a film that will draw attention come Oscar time.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Fox Searchlight

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Other than the abundant use of the f-word, the screenwriter avoids most crudity

Obscene Language: The f-word is used constantly. Evidently this is accepted speech among many lower middle class in Ireland.

Profanity: I caught three uses of Jesus name, much like youd say darn it.

Violence: None

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: A sexual suggestion is made early in their relationship, but he is rebuffed for the suggestion.

Drugs: Social drinking, as is the custom in Ireland.

Other: None

Running Time: 88 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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