Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 281 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A modern day musical set on the streets of Dublin. Featuring Glen Hansard from the Irish band "The Frames," the film tells the story of a street musician and a Czech immigrant during an eventful week as they write, rehearse and record songs that reveal their unique love story. (Fox Searchlight)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 33
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 33
  3. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. 100
    In its own subdued, mellow way, Once is just about perfect.
  2. A miracle of a movie that is both fairy tale and slice of life.
  3. 100
    Once is the kind of film I've been pestered about ever since I started reviewing again. People couldn't quite describe it, but they said I had to see it. I had to. Well, I did. They were right.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Once is a film for anyone who has ever been transported by the power and passion of music.
  5. The film has enormous charm and zero pretense.
  6. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    Yet the magic of the movie is how utterly wrenching it renders these songs, which thrive alongside the film's simple, eloquent, dusky narrative.
  7. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Winningly unpretentious tale uses a wispy romantic narrative as a vehicle for attractive original tunes.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 27 out of 160
  1. Nov 17, 2012
    Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova star in this incredible low-budget Irish gem, as well as compose the gorgeous soundtrack, winning an Oscar for "Falling Slowly". In a decade of pushing the envelope and huge budgets, it is a simple film made on two handy-cams, that proves to touch the most viewers. Expand
  2. Sep 2, 2013
    There are no shiny sets, larger than life characters or unorthodox costumes in this modern day musical, but this is an unorthodox musical in itself, and is a touching story of friendship, talent and unlikely partnerships in unlikely circumstances. We all pass the 'Big Issue' seller or the talented busker in the town, granted they aren't always talented but anyway, here we have two unlikely companions in the form of a busker man (Glen Hansard) and 'Big Issue' seller woman (Markéta Irglova) they are not named in the film, part from the mans father calling him 'son', they meet each other over talks about vacuum cleaners and songs, songs which they begin writing together, the man lives with his dad and frequently goes out busking in an attempt for more money, but realise he holds into grief from a previous relationship which his new companion picks up on almost immediately. They together attempt to 'make it big' and in the process learn plenty about each other, what is most striking about this is the ordinary of nature of it all, they both live working class and simple lives, but never play the big ego card of dreaming for the stars, they happen across one another and practice together in a music store on their lunch breaks, he lives a routine of helping his dad and chasing young people trying to steal is busking profit, she is from another country and sells flowers, more than likely to fund her mother and daughter who also live with her.
    This plain and realistic approach shows a very unique element with 'Once', we usually have a musical number in a film with orchestras, fireworks or some massive backing group, but here we have more candid and realistic situations, she needs batteries for her CD player, and so she sings the song to herself on her way back home, while he may be standing outside HMV attempting to put more money in his pocket, these don't have the expensive boom that bigger budget musicals would have, but these just feel so much more personal, natural and real.
    The performances of the two leads are grounded and true, it feels quite real as if a documentary is happening, especially a particular scene in a recording studio which just hits all the right notes, breathtaking comes mind. This is a true treasure of a film with an honest approach and budget style of filmmaking, it is a musical through and through which feels real, natural, mainly because these are first and foremost musicians, the documentary style benefits this while we also having a compelling story and typical Irish humour that mixes nicely with an otherwise slow and steady film.
  3. Aug 26, 2010
    "Once" works so well in the realm of its own simplicity: two people connect over their love of music, and the week that they share together is fulfilling enough to last a lifetime. The music, written and performed by the two leads Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, is pure bliss and the movie is an independent film, so the dialogue and character interactions are allowed to feel genuine. Expand
  4. MTP
    May 3, 2013
    Great movie, I only give it a 9 because 10 is reserved for something really extra special and there is no 9.5. I ask myself "why don't the big boys make movies like this"? The problem is they could make low budget movies but they can't keep their hands off it. What studio would put out such a movie? Production, plain and a little rough; script nice story but no action; actors, there were none in this movie; music, blows me away. The thing is in THIS movie it all works together. If this would have been a studio movie, polished by the know it alls it would just be another over edited, over acted, re-scripted, re-mixed, cut, compromised ruined masterpiece. Before I am finished a little about the music, it is real, it is good. This is real music, I am tired of studios trying to pass off lame supposed cutting edge music that some jingle composer whipped out the last night before recording. Don't plan on seeing this once, you will watch it over and over again. Expand
  5. Jul 13, 2011
    It has surely one of the best song-based soundtracks in the film history. I like the subtle love story, but there are some scenes that, though surely realistic, an everyday thing that want us to get into the story, had the completely opposite effect on me. But is easy to see, interesting and enjoyable. Expand
  6. Oct 5, 2010

    Time for something a little different...well not too different I suppose. You may have
    heard of this movie if you're into music, more specifically soft folky indie music (like I am). Basically the story is of two adults find each other, they both play instruments, form a band and sort of fall in love. Sort of you may ask? Yes...but to understand that statement you'll have to watch it. This movie also has a great soundtrack which was entirely written and sung by the two main actors which are real musicians (Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová). So if you want a touching story, great music score and great cinematography check this out. 4 out of 5. Expand
  7. Aug 30, 2012
    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! Either way, could have done without it!!!!!!! Expand

See all 160 User Reviews


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