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  • Writer's pictureBridget Buckley

Once: A Movie Musical for March

During our latest little El Nino threat here in San Diego, I sat down, amidst the sounds of season, and revisited the brilliance that is Once. And because it’s March, and all things Irish are cool, you should check it out too.

Having lived in Dublin with my husband in the late 90s, we were not only drawn to the movie for the music, but the intimate setting of Grafton Street and various Dublin landmarks where we felt so at home. Even the bus upholstery made me reminiscent of double decker rides that always ran behind schedule.

The opening shot of Glen Hansard busking in the middle of the night on the afore mentioned Grafton Street has always made my heart race. His haunting voice paired with the purity of the guitar makes “Say It To Me Now,” a preview for what is to come.

Almost every song was written by Hansard and because of that it feels less like a typical movie musical and more like a making of an album (with a bit of a forbidden romance sprinkled in).

Shot in only 17 days using natural light and a few well placed mics, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová sing and play all of the music themselves. Of course, “Falling Slowly” (which won the 2007 Academy for Best Song), is a stand out, but it’s songs like “Gold” and “When Your Mind’s Made Up” that help propel the movie past the average musical and help create an intimate look into a relationship created through music.

There are a few great things that came out of this movie besides the soundtrack. First, it joined together Hansard and Irglová which resulted in the band The Swell Season. Second, it introduced the world to The Frames (or reintroduced them), the band in which the director and Hansard were members. And finally, it gave the world of Broadway an award winning musical where the actors played their own instruments on stage.

Have a happy St. Patrick’s Day and go watch the beautifully simple Once.

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