Thursday, February 07, 2008

Music & Movies

Generally speaking, the movie musical is a painful experience. Watching a character break into song when it makes absolutely no sense to do so is almost embarrassing to watch - embarrassing for the actors. Very few movie musicals have managed to pull it off without cringe-worthy numbers, and usually they must be set in some space and time foreign to modern viewers (see: Singin' in the Rain, Grease: Parts I & II). For a movie musical to be set in contemporary society with realistic characters is a gamble, but we certainly get lucky with Dubliner John Carney's award-nominated 2007 film, Once.

A musical about musicians - there's a novel idea. Characters breaking into song when the context is, specifically, breaking into song. The fact that the songs themselves are gorgeous and consuming compositions, though, are what truly set the film apart. Glen Hansard, lead singer for Irish indie rockers, The Frames, is the main character of this tale of difficult love, and it's almost exclusively Hansard and The Frames' music that comprises the soundtrack. The plain beauty of Czech-born female lead, Markéta Irglová, is made far more enchanting upon hearing her lovely voice harmonizing perfectly with Hansard.

Now why can't Hollywood figure out how to make love stories like this one?

Enjoy a few clips from the film, but put it in your Netflix queue immediately.


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