How do I know that Once came out ten years ago? I’ve never been able to forget crying and being caught out by a friend the two times I went to see it during its limited run at the cinema. It’s hard to believe that Once trickled into cinemas ten years ago with a little fan fair and ended up becoming a cult hit, a Grammy and Oscar Winner, became Simpson’s characters, a Broadway and West End play starring Boyzone’s Ronan Keating.
Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová play Guy and Girl, two struggling musicians and one down on his luck hoover repair man living in Dublin. Sounds like it could be a Wes Anderson movie! The two lonely souls find their spirits lifted by a shared love of music and they begin to work together to create an album that might help the two escape the woes in their lives.
Made for a modest $150,000 which wouldn’t even buy you a cramped bedsit in Edinburgh, the movie went on to gross $23 million. Writer, Director and Kiera Knightly’s number one fan, John Carney, brought together Glen Hansard – known for his music with the band The Fames and a small acting role in The Commitments – and Markéta Irglová who’d worked with Hansard on The Swell Session for the movie. The pairing would become a couple during filming and their chemistry and sorrow make it such a special movie and pull you in, like any classic musical, it’s only as good as the partnership.
The music from the movie is truly beautiful and ‘Falling Slowly’ is a truly worthy winner of an original song Oscar, how often can you say that? Irglová and Hansard went up to win the Oscar and became a viral moment when after Hansard finished his speech, the music from the orchestra pit swelled and cut to a break, leaving Irglová at the height of our success without a word to say. Coming back from the break, John Stewart welcomed Irglová back on the stage to say her speech and thank-you’s. Using some music from The Frames back catalogue and some original material, the music soundtracks the unspoken pain and longing between Guy and Girl so well. It was always the reprise of Falling Slowly that brought out the tears whenever I watched it.
Much like Begin Again and Sing Street that followed from Carney, music and lyrics is always the substitute for expressing your feelings and emotions with words.
Do you remember seeing Once? Was your reaction the same as Lee’s? Let us know what you thought in the comments section.