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Movie Review: Once

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I imagine that if I were a musician, I would appreciate Once more than I do. Don't get me wrong, though – first of all, it's still a very good film, and second, I play a mean "Jingle Bells" on the piano. I think I can even play "Happy Birthday" and a few other tunes, too.

Bad jokes aside, Once truly will appeal to those familiar with not only the creative process of music making, but the connection that musicians share when said process creates something beautiful.

The film, with its main characters being named "Guy" and "Girl" doesn't muddy the waters with an abundance of plot or character building, instead focusing on the craft and, not surprisingly, the music (a good third of the film consists solely of one or more characters playing their songs, making this a rare indie "musical"). And sweet music it is. In no time, you'll be singing along to the catchy, if melancholy, tunes.

Unfortunately, too much of a good thing can turn out to be bad, as the music takes away from the very well written dialog. Once has an organic, real feeling from beginning to end, and avoids the pitfalls that would typically pollute a film like this (such as a rabid sing along or "quirky" characters).

In fact, much of the film feels much like a documentary, as if the actors were merely interacting with each other, as opposed to running through rehearsed dialog. Scenes between the "Guy" and his father ring especially true.

One minor complaint, though it can't really be directed towards the filmmakers: I consider myself to be pretty good at picking up and comprehending the non-American English accents, but there are numerous times where the Irish-accented "Guy," his father, the Czech immigrant "Girl" or any number of other characters are nearly incomprehensible to American audiences. Put some subtitles on the screen, people! I have an easier time understanding German at times.

Fletch's Film Rating:
"It's in the hole!"
"It's in the hole!"

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