"Once," a film written and directed by John Carney, is a musical. But not a musical in the sense that people on the screen spontaneously break out into song, but a movie that is about music, a movie suffused with music:
It's a simple story, really - a guy (who is never named) meets a girl (who is never named). What happens next probably shouldn't be spoiled, but let's just say that the two find they have a connection, on both a musical and a personal level. Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová play the two leads, and they also perform nearly all the music in the film.
There are numerous scenes where the emotional high points are hit during a song, making for a one-of-a-kind experience. Hansard and Irglová, who are not actors but musicians, have a convincing chemistry. At its best moments, "Once" feels like a really great music video.
It follows, then, that the movie's main weakness is that this is supposed to be a feature film, not a music video. "Once" doesn't really have much of a plot, and if you're not a fan of the music that's played throughout the running time, you'll likely be either distracted or bored. That said, it's hard not to be charmed by the movie, and so I give it an...