Once ★★★★★

To hell with it; I'm bumping this up to the full five stars.
This is probably the film I've watched more than any other over the last ten years. This is mainly because I lend it to people and insist on being there when they watch it, and see their face light up. It's a beautiful thing.

It is a film of simple beauty; about the redemptive power of music, making an instant connection with another person, and rediscovering the joy of being human. It is completely devoid of cynicism and is at once heartbreaking and uplifting.

The performances from Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova have a rough and unshowy quality being non-actors, but they convince completely. Rarely have I ever rooted for a couple quite so much. If there is a downside I can't listen to 'Falling Slowly' without becoming a sobbing wreck as that song seems to have been the backing to some bad times over the last few years, purely because Once is a film I revisit as the cinematic equivalent of a bottle of red and a litre of Haagen-Dazs. Yesterday was no exception, and there was a serious breaking of floodgates that had been straining for the last month.

Surely that's what great cinema is for though - it's not just brain food.

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