“Once”: a beautiful and haunting little movie about music and musicians

“Once”: a beautiful and haunting little movie about music and musicians

During our vacation in Texas, Melanie’s parents rented the DVD of the independent movie “Once”, starring Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Without giving away too much of the plot and ending, it’s a good movie about two people with a chance encounter, a realization of a shared love of music, and how they help each other move forward in life past the pain of broken love. I’ll just add it’s not your typical Hollywood ending.

The movie is set in Dublin and both Hansard and Irglová are actual musicians who sing and play all their music. The movie itself is full of music, almost more than I was comfortable with. There are a few long scenes of them singing an entire song, not like in a musical where it’s a part of their daily life and the music comes out of nowhere, but where they sing like real people.

I found this blog called They rode on that gives a great perspective on the music and in fact embeds the videos of some of the best music from the movie so you can get a taste.

I’ve said before that Adagio for Strings may be the saddest piece of music I know. There’s a new contender for that title. “Falling Slowly,” from this movie has an effect I can’t really explain. It’s not even the words. It happens every time that chord change comes leading into the chorus. Waves of almost overwhelming sadness. All in all, that’s a pretty interesting accomplishment. Also worth adding to your playlists if you subscribe to any online music service that will allow you to listen to tracks you may not own are “When Your Mind’s Made Up” and “Lies.”

Just rent the movie. But until then listen to the music. “Falling Slowly” is just hauntingly beautiful.

(Here's a link to Amazon to the CD of the soundtrack.)

  • I stumbled upon this little film by accident just a few weeks ago when I was at the rental store.  I’ve watched it now several times.  It’s an absolutely wonderful and (as you say) haunting story.  The music is simple yet soulful and compelling, and gives insight to the psyche of the main characters.  I purchased the soundtrack from Amazon.com (make sure to get the “Collector’s Edition” – only $11.99) which includes all of the music from the film plus a couple Van Morrison tunes which Hansard performed, and a “Making of” DVD with live performances of four songs by Hansard and Irglova.

  • Hansard was in “The Commitments” way back when. Nice to see that he’s in another film besides continuing his musical career.