Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Once is barely enough
People everywhere are falling in love with the major studio boutique film Once, but I'm not one of them. I was so bored, I ended up staring at the aisle floor lights at least twice during the film. Not a good sign, I'd say.
My main beef with the film was that every plot development was way too neatly contrived, from start to finish. This is a calculated attempt at charm, disguised in a scratchy wool sweater and unkempt beard. Blech. No fault of the likeable leads, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, though. They do a fine job and have a nicely linked back story in real life of becoming friends and musical collaborators before making this movie.
Once is being called a modern-day musical, since so much of the movie revolves around expressing oneself through song, but this film's moments-in-song felt more like extended music videos to me. In true musicals, the story is moved forward through song--characters express their feelings about what's happening in that exact moment. Here the songs were based on past experiences, making them much less engaging--although the music was pretty, accessible and help set the bittersweet mood of unrequited love.
And not to split hairs, but I've run in enough musician-populated circles to know that the rehearsal and recording scenes in Once are terribly inaccurate. That will only bug those who know better.
So now I've given Once my grumpy once-over. Those who are willing to be swept along by the artificial sweetness will be pleased as punch when walking out of the theater. I, on the other hand, like my sugar in the raw.