I got Once for my birthday from my brother- and sister-in-law.  They thought it looked like the sort of thing I would like.  We put it on the shelf and noticed when it won the Oscar for Best Song.  We watched it Saturday night expecting to be amused, but not necessarily blown away…  But we were, we were completely blown away.  The long version of the plot goes like this (from IMDB):

An (unnamed) Guy is a Dublin guitarist/singer-songwriter who makes a living by fixing vacuum cleaners in his Dad’s Hoover repair shop by day, and singing and playing for money on the Dublin streets by night. An (unnamed) Girl is a Czech who plays piano when she gets a chance, and does odd jobs by day and takes care of her mom and her daughter by night. Guy meets Girl, and they get to know each other as the Girl helps the Guy to put together a demo disc that he can take to London in hope of landing a music contract. During the same several day period, the Guy and the Girl work through their past loves, and reveal their budding love for one another, through their songs.

And really, that is all there is to it (writer/director John Carney actually sums it up in about two sentences)… but there’s so much more.  The songs are ALL amazing – not just “Falling Slowly” – and they were written by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova (aka, Guy and Girl).  It definitely shows its budget ($150K) – it honestly feels like just the two people and a guy with a hand camera, and I really think that that’s not too far off from the reality of it.  It’s amazing how rich the two characters are without us even knowing their NAMES.  That’s right, you don’t even know their names (you do hear the guy’s Da call him by name, but not ’til the VERY end of the movie).  There are lovely little touches like Girl dragging her broken blue Hoover all over Dublin wanting Guy to fix it, and it seems very much like a little blue plastic dog… them talking past each other due to her imperfect grasp of English…  and on and on.
Go.  See it.  Now.

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