LOG: Once

Taking most of its will-they-or-won't-they cues from Lost in Translation, Once relies too heavily on it's showcase component, the music of Irish singer (and star) Glen Hansard. Marketa Irglova, as the girl, introduces herself like such a would-be Lolita ("fix my vacuum cleaner!") that it's puzzling and off-putting when she withdraws so suddenly, never to fully return. The film seems to enjoy subverting the traditional story roles, but it does it in rather predictable ways. The disapproving, "Jazz Singer"-esque father becomes the supportive, working class Dad, and so on. Yes, the music is very good, and "Falling Slowly" in particular is much deserving of it's popularity and Best Original Song Oscar. But Once might have elevated itself into something much more special and lasting if the film had anything else to rest it's weight on. I have surely seen enough movies about two people, finding each other and breathing life and love into one another as they pick up the lingering pieces of their separate failures.

The unavoidable punctuation mark at the end of the story is that the film couple has reportedly become a real couple, as they now tour the songs from the film together in the U.S. Once still lingers in my mind, held in place mostly by the conviction of Hansard's songs, and the lovely, cautious dance of the two leads, seemingly playing out real-life fancies behind the safety of the camera. But even for all it's elegant moments of authenticity, it still feels like a missed opportunity.

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