I had a feeling that the wife would really love this one, every once in a blue moon I’m right!
Written By: John Carney
Directed By: John Carney
Some movies are able to hit you like a ton of bricks. I don’t want every movie to tear me down emotionally, but when a movie does its a great thing. It may not seem like a great thing on the surface, my wife crying her eyes out uncontrollably doesn’t come across as great. But, a movie that taxes you emotionally I do find to be a great thing. Once is such a movie, in its simple approach and its simple characters it presents a complex take on love that is emotionally devastating.
Movies, specifically big budget romantic comedies, love to take a very bullheaded approach to love. In the majority of rom coms love is just waiting to be found. And when you do find it you will inevitably mess it up but be able to fix it by the end and live happily ever after. Lots of laughter will be had, there will be relationship miscues, but love exists and it is waiting for the hero or heroine of the film to reach out and grab it. Once believes in love, but it believes in a much more complicated version of love. The characters in Once don’t just grab love out of the air, it’s not waiting around every street corner to fulfill their every wish and whim. The love that exists within Once must be worked for, and while it can be lost and regained, the process is not easy or full of laughter. Most importantly, love as presented in Once is not limited to one person. It is possible to fall in love with two people and due to the way life shakes out to have to choose one love over the other.
John Carney chooses not to take a complicated approach to love. He presents a simple tale with very simple characters. All of this simplicity sets in motion a trek that shows the complex nature of love. By its very nature love is complex, that does not mean the story that shows us the love in question needs to be complex. A guy and a girl meet, and they do form a kind of love for one another and great things happen because of that love. Their lives become more complex and the love they share leads them down the path that they both believe their lives should take. Not once does Mr. Carney choose to complicate the love, or the characters, of Once in his writing. He understands that by itself love and life are complicated enough. A simpler approach is required and a simpler and more emotionally resonant film is delivered.
This time out one thing that struck me about Once was the leisurely pace of the story. This is a movie that knows where it is going and takes its time getting there. Once isn’t a long movie, it only clocks in at a shade under an hour and a half. Yet, Once is not a breezy film, there is a lot going on in its quiet moments. There’s a lot being said in the silent moments during a trip to the beach. There’s just as much going on in Once when the characters aren’t singing as when they are singing. The film never rushes through any of its moments, and that allows for the film to feel so entirely real.
Speaking of the singing in Once, I will admit that after seeing this film I became a fan of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. I own the soundtrack/score of the film, and I’ve sought out the duo’s other work as the group The Swell Season. When that pair, as well as the other performers in the band, are making their music there is a tremendous energy to the process. It doesn’t matter if it’s a slow techno beat song or a loud love song, all of the music in Once is amazing and it conveys so much emotion. The music of Once is the emotional driving force of the film, it opens up these characters who otherwise would be reserved in what they allow of their inner selves to be seen.
Yeah, I kind of love Once. It’s not a perfect movie, there are a few minutes during the middle portion that are cumbersome. That being said, Once is a lovely and emotional experience. The love the film conveys is both simple and complex, and it is very, very real. Love doesn’t always have a happy ending, but then again who am I to say that the ending to Once isn’t happy and that these two characters did not go on to live incredibly happy lives. For a brief period in time a guy and a girl shared their lives, and we were allowed to be privy to their love, their lives, and their great music. That experience was more than good enough for me, no matter how emotionally draining it may have been.
I began watching Once expecting nothing more than a charming little love story with lots of music. What it ended up being is one of my favorite love stories ever full of more emotion than I was expecting. The story is really incredibly simple. Guy meets girl (and we never actually even learn either’s name), the two form an immediate friendship from a mutual love of music; they hang out, sing some songs, record together, and go on with their lives. The span of time is a week or less. It doesn’t seem like it should be an emotional adventure, but it is.
The simplicity of the plot line, I think, helped make it so real. As much as I wish life was a grand adventure each day, it often isn’t. The story of Once had no major excitement, nothing grand or extraordinary happened. The characters just went about their normal everyday activities. It was believable and relatable. I felt like they were real people, not just characters playing a part in a movie. Also the way the movie was filmed made it seem more real. I am not always a fan of the shaky camera style of filming, but in this movie it worked to give the feel that I was actually there, watching this friendship blossom into a love right before my eyes.
I would also like to say that I was a fan of the music and songs within the movie. They were well done and helped move the story along as well. It seemed as though the songs helped say what the Guy and Girl were not openly saying to each other. Since both people were music lovers it worked out well that their deepest feelings might be sung instead of said.
This movie is a major tear jerker for me as well. You spend the whole movie feeling like you are truly getting to know the characters and rooting for their love to succeed. The end is too realistic I suppose. Not everything is meant to be. You have to think of others before yourself sometimes. Life goes on. All of these things hit at once as you are waiting for the happy ending and it sort of felt like it crashed down on me. The end, though it made me cry, is not truly happy or sad. It just is. You get the feeling that both characters will be fine, but (HOW THE HELL DO I WORD THIS RIGHT AND WHY IS MY HUSBAND TORTURING ME BY MAKING ME WRITE FOR HIS BLOGGITY BLOGGITY BLOGG!!!!???) it’s not the happy ending that I wanted and the denial of that effected me greatly. I didn’t even know their names, but I felt like I truly knew them…