I have just watched seen an Irish film, Once, and would like to give an opinion about it. Once is a drama musical film directed and written by John Carney. It stars Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.
The story took place in modern Dublin. A young flower-seller (Girl) was attracted by the music of a busker (Guy), and they spent a week writing, rehearsing and recording songs together.
Firstly, on my personal view, the soundtrack is generally good. The songs are all original, and the two main characters are starred by two real musicians. Their concord sounds harmonious in the theme song, Falling Slowly. So the music is not only well written and arranged, but also beautifully performed. Also, the songs start playing quite naturally as the plot develops. The music matches with the scenes properly. However, not all the songs are class A. Some melodies are plain, even stale.
Secondly, most of the lines agree with the different dispositions of the characters. Consisting of everyday words, the lines are colloquial, reasonable and easy to understand. There is nothing too romantic or too dramatic in the script. When watching this film, it is as if we are experiencing our everyday life. Furthermore, the lyrics are simple but touching, and they link to the sad keynote of the film. Nevertheless, there are some rude words in dialogues and lyrics, thus making the film inappropriate for young children.
Thirdly, the whole film is shot handheld. Unavoidably, the camera keeps shaking slightly all the time. This makes the film look like a video shot by common people to record their daily livesfe, and therefore closes the distance between the film and the audience. Since it is a film about obscurities and real life, handheld shooting helps to make the characters look less like shiny movie stars, and more like struggling, ordinary people. But the disadvantage is that sometimes the audience may feel dizzy because of the unstable camera.
Fourthly, the settings are mainly on the street or in the apartments of the main characters. The plot on the street is shot on Grafton Street. I believe the location is well-chosen. There is so much noise and there are so many people there, but the poor busker and the flower-seller are seldom paid attention to by others. The set design makes them look more humble, and their mutual attraction appearss more precious. The apartment rooms are very much the same with those owned by people of not a very high salary: small, cluttered, messy but seem comfortable. Also, many scenes do not look “beautiful” at all. Some trivial, common, even ugly things are shown on the screen again and again, intentionally or unintentionally. This makes the film more like real life.
Last but not least, the plot is easy to follow, a little slow but not boring. Some plots are romantic but within reason. Others are very close to everyday life. The story moves on smoothly and naturally. And there is no hackneyed pattern to bore the audience.
The audience may sense a feeling of loneliness and solitude after watching this film. People are helpless in the face of destiny, and reality is often so cruel that people do not have the choice to follow their hearts. Sometimes, an unexpected wonder falls on people as if coming from heaven, creating an illusion that dreams are within reach. But after a moment of initial ecstasy, life would just go back to on its previous track, leaving people only sighs and laments. However, the memory will never be lost, and that special feeling will last in one’s heart for a lifetime.
In my opinion, this film is not suitable for children under 12 because of some rude words. I would like to recommend this film especially to unmarried young couples, for it can help them think more about love and life. Those who love folk rock music may as well buy a soundtrack album.
I would like to score the film 9 out of 10. The plot is natural, the music is generally good, the cinematography is distinctive, and the script is reasonable, though audience may feel uneasy at some vulgar language. In general, Once is worth watching. The audience can really learn something from this film.