User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 303 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 38 out of 303
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  1. AdamS.
    Feb 1, 2008
    2
    The movie had one or two good songs, but that was it and they continued to play them over and over. There wasn't much to the movie. It was boring and was disappointing after hearing so much positive regarding it.
  2. JenL.
    Jun 4, 2007
    2
    The plot of the 120 minute film goes absolutely nowhere and amounts to nothing, much like the typical singer/songwriter songs that fill out the running time. Worse still, all the people falling over these simple songs like he's the next Bob Dylan makes this seem like nothing more than a vanity project. The movie is also filmed in a very jerky manner that made many of the older people The plot of the 120 minute film goes absolutely nowhere and amounts to nothing, much like the typical singer/songwriter songs that fill out the running time. Worse still, all the people falling over these simple songs like he's the next Bob Dylan makes this seem like nothing more than a vanity project. The movie is also filmed in a very jerky manner that made many of the older people in the audience sick. Avoid at all costs. Expand
  3. TomW
    Jul 10, 2007
    2
    Totally agree with negative reviews. How did this get such great reviews/ It wasn't terrible, but it offered so little. It wasn't touching, romantic, well written, or well directed. The music was fine enough, but that just makes it feel like a documentary on David Gray.
  4. EllenO.
    Sep 6, 2007
    3
    I liked the opening. I liked her a lot and wouldn't have watched the whole film if she hadn't have been in it. I got sick of hearing the same song over and over. I hated the camera work. I found him tedious. I found the storyline severely lacking. And although the characters in the movie thought the music brilliant, I didn't.
  5. cameronc.
    Jan 3, 2008
    2
    I heard so many good things about this movie's music and was completely let down. I swear to god, i am not exaggerating, i had to cover my ears during that scene in the back of the music shop. She was "harmonizing" with him while he sang- really just singing like a 6th below him the entire time. a lacking storyline for yet another stupid artsy film.
  6. DougD.
    Jun 2, 2007
    4
    I'm completely baffled by the fellow reviews on this site. You must consider this movie a musical if you want to take its reviews seriously, because the plot moves at such a snail's pace that it's hard to become engaged at all with this movie. Not until the halfway point do the two lead's finally start to gel a bit (along with the first plot revelation). We are I'm completely baffled by the fellow reviews on this site. You must consider this movie a musical if you want to take its reviews seriously, because the plot moves at such a snail's pace that it's hard to become engaged at all with this movie. Not until the halfway point do the two lead's finally start to gel a bit (along with the first plot revelation). We are supposed to find the Czech immigrant's willingness to drag a vaccum cleaner around Dublin as well as her poor fashion sense as cute and endearing, but it felt forced by Carney in my opinion, like a poor man's Sam from Garden State. I feel that musicians will feel much more positively about this movie than I did, and that it must deliver something to them that it didn't bring to me. If that's the case, then may they enjoy it, because personally I haven't felt this lost at a movie since "My Summer of Love," another highly praised movie that I walked away from wondering what I missed. Expand
  7. TomP
    Jul 10, 2007
    1
    I agree with Bob W. I walked out of this film. Banal music, nauseatingly shaky camera work, irritating male character. The people I was with, one of whom is a filmmaker, also thought it was terrible. What do people see in this film?
  8. KenC
    Jan 10, 2008
    0
    Could not finish the movie - yawn - like the same song played the entire movie.
  9. PeteW
    Jan 12, 2008
    2
    Possibly the most-hyped movie of 2007, Once is a lot like its characters: seedy and unprepossessing on the surface, but wildly in love with its own self-proclaimed whimsical creativity just beneath. Ultimately just another story about a boy with a guitar and the girl who inspires him (the ballyhooed "modern musical" angle doesn't hold up to scrutiny; musicals use music to tell a Possibly the most-hyped movie of 2007, Once is a lot like its characters: seedy and unprepossessing on the surface, but wildly in love with its own self-proclaimed whimsical creativity just beneath. Ultimately just another story about a boy with a guitar and the girl who inspires him (the ballyhooed "modern musical" angle doesn't hold up to scrutiny; musicals use music to tell a story, but the plot of Once grinds to a halt every time the characters feel like cranking out another falsetto-y power ballad about lost loves, which is often), the only truly original thing about Once is that it completely excises the obligatory love story from the formula, replacing it with a sort of friendship-of-desperation between two very lonely people who only seem to be together at all because they both happen to be musicians. They chat about random trivia, record some songs, lean on each others' shoulders a bit, and that's the whole substance of their "captivating, elegant, uplifting, engaging, magical" relationship (the girl, especially, is clearly holding the guy at arm's length for most of the movie, even though it was she who creepily approached him in the first place). They are NOT in love, though hardly anyone who saw the movie seems to realize this, and it's clear from early on that they probably never will be what with all the complications in their lives. As for the music, one reviewer summed it up with a single word ("Coldplay") and there's nothing I can add to that. As one last thought, take a look through the comments and pay attention to how many of the people praising Once don't seem to actually like the movie itself so much as the fact that it's not a major Hollywood film. I give it credit for shrewdness in that regard: there's definitely a demographic who like having their scruffy-indie-underdog-outsider egos stroked and Once plays them like a Stradivarius. Doesn't make it a good movie, though. Expand
  10. RichieR.
    Jan 20, 2008
    3
    Similar to the disappointment of waking up on Christmas morning, not to the bright red bmx you had been promised, but instead, 6 pairs of striped socks- this movie is banal, self-reverential, sentimental tripe. I have lost two hours of my life and I will be contacting Glen Hansard to arrange getting them back.
  11. Johnny2cents
    Jan 23, 2008
    2
    Surely I must have been on another planet and it all just went over my head. People were dazzled and touched by this movie?? I was frazzled and bamboozled. I banged my head against the wall to make sure I wasn't comatose.
  12. RobertK
    Dec 24, 2007
    4
    I honestly don't get it. The movie had its cute moments but overall I was bored to tears. I don't see how this movie was a great romantic wonder. I'm sorry it just didn't register with me at all.
  13. BobW.
    Jul 5, 2007
    1
    I would vote zero except that I am not sure my vote would be counted. This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. If I could pick one word to describe it, it would be "annoying" The grainy photography gets annoying, his voice gets annoying, the little turns that appear and go nowhere get annoying, and the fact that nothing is resolved between the guy, his girlfriend and his new I would vote zero except that I am not sure my vote would be counted. This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. If I could pick one word to describe it, it would be "annoying" The grainy photography gets annoying, his voice gets annoying, the little turns that appear and go nowhere get annoying, and the fact that nothing is resolved between the guy, his girlfriend and his new found songwriter gets annoying. I simply can't understand the high ratings for this movie. I am not an unsophisticated moviegoer. I like offbeat movies, and artsy movies, but this one is not artsy, and it certainly is way offbeat. It is so offbeat that it totally misses the mark. Expand
  14. FranklinH
    Jul 9, 2007
    0
    The music sucks. Maybe if you really like derivative-folk-rock-david gray rip off ballads you'll like the music. What little story there is is linear and uninteresting. There is a pathetic attempt at some kind of climax that doesn't pay off bc it's never earned and we have no reason to care for these characters and their relationship whatsoever. Once, was one time too many. BOOM!
  15. Ann-MarieC.
    Jan 28, 2008
    0
    I found Once to be a completely boring and pretentious excuse for a movie. The chemistry between the two main characters is so terrible, it was actually difficult to watch. I didn't believe it for a second of it. The main character was a pathetic, sap who I felt no empathy for - his self-pity and constant pining for an unrequited love makes him utterly unlikeable. As for the writing, I found Once to be a completely boring and pretentious excuse for a movie. The chemistry between the two main characters is so terrible, it was actually difficult to watch. I didn't believe it for a second of it. The main character was a pathetic, sap who I felt no empathy for - his self-pity and constant pining for an unrequited love makes him utterly unlikeable. As for the writing, it is so boring and uninteresting, I found myself losing interest about 10 minutes in. This script is the movie's biggest flaw. I found it so unromantic - it made me bitter! That said, low budget movies can be brilliant - films like 2 Days in Paris, Tape, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Last Night and Waydowntown can attest to that. Expand
  16. SarahM.
    Mar 24, 2008
    0
    Sub David Gray codswollop of the highest order! Whilst I don't mind pretension in cinema, I find this film almost offensive in its desperate desire to be hip and cool. One word review, CRAP.
  17. NigelM.
    Mar 25, 2008
    2
    Vastly overated. This is a pleasant enough film to begin with, but quickly turns into an elongated advert for some fairly dodgy and twee music. The story doesn't really go anywhere and there is so little dialogue between songs that I didn't care what happened to the characters anyway. It was a relief when it was all over.
  18. HimfJ.
    Aug 29, 2008
    0
    Boring and incredibly predictable. A waste of time and money.
  19. EdS.
    Nov 18, 2009
    2
    This just shows how a film that is panned in its native ireland can get such great reviews in the u.s, its one of the worst most cliched embarrassingly bad movies i've ever seen what americans see as magical most irish and british people think is utter toss
  20. NickA
    Dec 14, 2007
    0
    This movie was like a MTV "behind the music show" it was slooooooow, not fun to watch, and dialog hard to understand for U.S. english speakers.
  21. Roryp
    Dec 19, 2007
    4
    At the end of the day, if you are a fan of Glen Hansard and his music, you will like this film. If, like me, you think his music (especially that solo album) is a lifeless poncy strut down the overly maligned singer songwriter route (maligned here in ireland mainly BECAUSE of glen and his many troops of similarly tortured songs-from-a-room shitehawks who invaded the country a few years At the end of the day, if you are a fan of Glen Hansard and his music, you will like this film. If, like me, you think his music (especially that solo album) is a lifeless poncy strut down the overly maligned singer songwriter route (maligned here in ireland mainly BECAUSE of glen and his many troops of similarly tortured songs-from-a-room shitehawks who invaded the country a few years back) you will not like this film very much. The performances are grand, especially Glen, who has more experience in this area then Irglova. It has the occasional bit of humour and pathos that rings true and it Expand
  22. StephensJ.
    Dec 19, 2007
    2
    so cooool
  23. RickT.
    Jun 26, 2007
    3
    I, too, read all of these raving good reviews and went "what the F*ck?". This is a sloppy cute film that teases you for 120 minutes that there's a love story or something going on. As for cinematography, the guys hair color changes in mid-scene and more often than Madonna's. This movie goes absolutely nowhere and has implied sexual tension that fizzles out with nary a whimper. I, too, read all of these raving good reviews and went "what the F*ck?". This is a sloppy cute film that teases you for 120 minutes that there's a love story or something going on. As for cinematography, the guys hair color changes in mid-scene and more often than Madonna's. This movie goes absolutely nowhere and has implied sexual tension that fizzles out with nary a whimper. How can you play the same songs 2-3 times in a single movie? My 10 yr old daughter's 3 minute original film had a wider array of music. Expand
  24. JW.
    Jul 17, 2007
    4
    This movie had all the best intentions and deserves credit if only for crafting a heartwarming story on such a small budget with very clever direction. My main problems with it are that it's overly sentimental to a fault and that the music is so very, er, how do I put this... Coldplay. And I don't mean that in a good way.
  25. JenLove
    Aug 15, 2007
    2
    "Actually, Jen L., it was 88 minutes. What film did you see or do you like to give negative ratings when everyone else is positive?"--Ah, it must have felt like two hours, because, as others have said, the songs make the film drag on. I saw the same film, and everyone is not positive. Just look around. Other people have pointed out the same flaws in this little vanity project.
  26. CarrieB
    Nov 10, 2008
    3
    The only thing of interest in this move is the beautiful music. But let's not judge a movie based on the soundtrack. The story is paper thin, and the weakest link is Irglova, who adds very little and is unconvincing as an actress. All she does in the first fifteen minutes is ask a stranger multiple times about his old girlfriend. The fact that they play out entire songs that The only thing of interest in this move is the beautiful music. But let's not judge a movie based on the soundtrack. The story is paper thin, and the weakest link is Irglova, who adds very little and is unconvincing as an actress. All she does in the first fifteen minutes is ask a stranger multiple times about his old girlfriend. The fact that they play out entire songs that don't drive the plot is another mistake. One-dimensional characters and lack of story kill this film. I saw Hansard & Irglova in concert and unlike the movie, didn't walk away wanting my money back. Expand
  27. MichaelF.
    Jan 27, 2008
    1
    My wife and I both felt this movie was way over-rated from the critics. Different tastes I guess. We could only watch half of it. Very boring. I guess one has to really enjoy music and singing (over and over and over) to like this movie.
  28. JohnS.
    Jan 28, 2008
    0
    This movie was not only boring, stupidly self-indulgent and poorly acted - it is also bad for your health. While watching it, a little vomit came up. This mostly happened during the moments when the sappy bastard with the guitar sang his pathetic songs about unrequited love. No wonder his woman left him, he's a seriously big loser living in his father's attic and pathetically This movie was not only boring, stupidly self-indulgent and poorly acted - it is also bad for your health. While watching it, a little vomit came up. This mostly happened during the moments when the sappy bastard with the guitar sang his pathetic songs about unrequited love. No wonder his woman left him, he's a seriously big loser living in his father's attic and pathetically (and to no avail) trying to get laid by a single mom. Watching snow on TV is definitely more entertaining than this lame shit! And no, it's not because it doesn't have a big budget. you don't need a big budget to make a good film. Tape, Dancer in the Dark, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Waydowntown and Last Night are all low-budget masterpieces. Expand
  29. BenK.
    Dec 17, 2007
    3
    When I went to see "Once," I thought it was going to be an small, romantic musical movie, as it had been described from various sources. For the first twenty minutes of the film, it seemed like this could've gone somewhere. But, it didn't. This would've worked mush better as a twenty minute short film, than a whole feature-length film. The only good part about it was the When I went to see "Once," I thought it was going to be an small, romantic musical movie, as it had been described from various sources. For the first twenty minutes of the film, it seemed like this could've gone somewhere. But, it didn't. This would've worked mush better as a twenty minute short film, than a whole feature-length film. The only good part about it was the song "Falling Slowly." So, yeah. Expand
  30. pg
    Dec 25, 2007
    3
    waaaaaaaaay over-hyped!! not fun like a real musical nor meaningful like 'dancer in the dark'. atch at your own risk. sappiest indie movie ever.
  31. Aug 30, 2012
    3
    We wanted to see this musical based on the instruments and the singing. That was all awesome but the language was terrible! If you don't mind hearing the "F" bomb every sentence, then this musical is for you. We really would have enjoyed this musical based on it's content however, it was ruined! Maybe they talk that way in Ireland and that's the reason the language was so foul! EitherWe wanted to see this musical based on the instruments and the singing. That was all awesome but the language was terrible! If you don't mind hearing the "F" bomb every sentence, then this musical is for you. We really would have enjoyed this musical based on it's content however, it was ruined! Maybe they talk that way in Ireland and that's the reason the language was so foul! Either way, could have done without it!!!!!!! Expand
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 33
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 33
  3. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Jeremy Mathews
    70
    A film of limited production values, a low-quality picture and the occasional flubbed camera move. But it makes up for these flaws with sharp observations, compelling characters and a great collection of music.
  2. 75
    This isn't a perfect motion picture but, in the midst of summer's vapid pursuit of spectacle, a movie that provides real heart and emotion is a rare find.
  3. The film has enormous charm and zero pretense.