", a film now playing in select theatres, is a lovely respite from the cacophony of Summer blockbusters. This non-traditional musical stars Glen Hansard
(of the band "The Frames
") as a busker in Dublin who embarks on a friendship and possible romance with a Czech immigrant who shares his love for music, played by Marketa Irglova
. Though their initial meeting is not the standard "meet cute" found in so many Hollywood films, it is real and note-perfect. "Once" progresses with a natural ease and faultless pacing found so rarely; even in the best of films. This sense of effortlessness is underscored by the photography, which is beautiful yet so meticulously casual it draws one in with a feeling of being inside the film with the characters. Hansard and Marketa deliver subtle, warm performances that swell with passion when they are singing. Along with the two lead actors, the third star of "Once" is, of course, the music. If the film isn't playing near you, the soundtrack is
currently available. One warning though; listening to the music from "Once" will make you want to see the movie all the more eagerly. The songs, like the film itself, are moving, complex, and authentic.