Caty Alexandre’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was supposed to see this before I went to see Begin Again but I didn't had the time. I heard a lot of people saying that this film was great but I for no special reason I had not seen it before.
One of the most beautiful and honest films I have ever seen! I was completely overwhelmed with the love and dedication that was put forth by John Carney in this little (but very big) project that manages to carry so much with so little!
Once is a very simple and heartfelt story demonstrating a huge love for music, which makes sense. A world without music would not be the same and is due to the love for music that the two central characters in this story will cross their paths.
A street musician with a huge talent, plays every day in the streets of Dublin. At the beginning we get the idea that he is just another one looking to earn some extra money, singing and playing a few songs... But we quickly realize that the main reason why does it is not for the money but for the pleasure of giving music to others, dreaming of someday becoming a professional musician. On a day like any other he meets a girl, who not like most people that pass through him every day, really pays attention to what he does. And there begins to grow a beautiful musical and emotional relationship between the two.
The film is shot in documentary style which given the history gives you a whole more intimate air, almost like it was supposed to walk side by side with the characters. Its pretty raw but instead of giving it an amateur look, can make it into something even more special. The original soundtrack of this film is absolutely delicious. Great tracks, and all illustrate perfectly every feeling, every emotion, every moment that we are seeing.
The performances are very realistic and heartfelt. Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová did a great job playing these two beautiful characters. I am very happy to know that these two talented musicians won the Academy Award for Best Original Song - "Falling Slowly" - in 2007.
Once is not just a film for all lovers of music, is a film that everyone should see! Simple, without any presumption or requirement. Just want to touch the heart of any human being that values emotion.
I loved Begin Again but I think I loved this one even more! Keep up with the great work Mr. John Carney!