“Periodically — about twice a year, by my calculation — someone tries to breathe new life into the movie musical by putting together a lavish song-and-dance spectacle like the ones they used to make, full of big numbers and bigger emotions. (See, most recently, Dreamgirls and, before too long, Hairspray.) Against this trend, Once, a scrappy, heart-on-its-sleeve little movie directed by an Irishman named John Carney, makes a persuasive case that the real future of the genre may lie not in splashy grandeur but in modesty and understatement.
“Filmed with more efficiency than elegance on the streets of Dublin, Mr. Carney√ɬ¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s movie, a favorite at Sundance earlier this year, does not look, sound or feel like a typical musical. It is realistic rather than fanciful, and the characters work patiently on the songs rather than bursting spontaneously into them. But its low-key affect and decidedly human scale endow Once with an easy, lovable charm that a flashier production could never have achieved. The formula is simple: two people, a few instruments, 88 minutes and not a single false note.” — from A.O. Scott‘s N.Y. Times review.
So far, the Fox Searchlight release has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Some cream-of-the-cropper will eventually ding it — the best movies always take hit or two — but it’ll be fascinating to read whatever complaints or reservations may be in the offing. Here’s KennethTuran‘s L.A. Times rave.