Once (John Carney – 2006) A-

It’s a very charming and understated film about a talented street musician. He fixes vaccum cleaners at his dad’s shop to earn a living and dreams of recording his demo CD, going off to London and making it big. The catalyst to getting him to do all that is a cute girl from the Czech Republic who shares his love and talent for music and finally gets him motivated to start his career. It also helps that the movie is full of wonderful music and songs written and composed by the two lead actors. Both actors, I think, are professional musicians but they work really well here. They seem natural and very likeable. Of course the two leads are attracted to each other but this is not a meet-cute romantic movie and it avoids cliches and common pitfalls. Instead it focuses on the realities of these two people who needed to meet but maybe not spend their lives together. It’s worth mentioning a couple of smaller characters that I really liked, namely the singer’s father and the sound engineer at the recording studio. They both were memorable in their own way.

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