Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Good Movie to Take Your Kids to

How often do you find the right person?

That’s the subtitle question Fox Searchlight asks so they can answer with the movie title Once. They also say this about the movie: A modern day musical set on the streets of Dublin. Featuring Glen Hansard from the Irish band "The Frames," the film tells the story of a street musician and a Czech immigrant during an eventful week as they write, rehearse and record songs that reveal their unique love story.

All true, yet not exactly. Here’s my version:
A nice, young couple meet, bond over music, don't sleep together, admit they've suffered for love, write songs about it, cut a record together, still don't have sex, and decide independently to work things out with their estranged lovers.

The guy and the girl (Hansard and Irglova) are decent people with internal individual struggles that must be sung out loud and often (especially by Hansard).

The most sinister scene (and entertaining) in the movie is when Irglova in a midnight lyric-writing fervor rushes to the local mart for batteries for her discman. While walking home in her flannel jammies and bunny slippers she sings one of my two favorite songs in the movie ("The Hill," and "If You Want Me,") heedless of the lurking dangers around her.

Or is it that I have a sick need for lurking dangers, for something, anything, to happen?

Irglova walks home singing her heart out. Every square centimeter of the curbside is occupied by vehicles that look like they’ve been built for munchkins. Behind her, a station wagon swings into view.

What is a station wagon doing in a movie with munchkin cars? It must be a clue. I watch the background. The station wagon turns and drives slowly down the street behind her. She continues to sing. The camera seems to be hand-held. It works in this scene. Fits her mood, the words to the song.

I look at the bunny ears on her slippers. Surely, the villain in the station wagon would not attack a singing woman wearing bunny slippers. They must be a clue as to our heroine’s fate. The station wagon is there one more time, closer than ever. The song ends. The heroine gets home safely. We never see the station wagon again.

He and she don't play games with each other. There are no emotional outbursts, no monstrous ex’s to battle against, no real bad people — even the local recording studio owner is a nice guy who cuts them a good deal.

Yikes, there's no inciting incident.

A thin story, but a nice one. A good lesson for your kids to learn: Life isn't all about drama. Sometimes it appears as if nothing is happening, and it turns out that friendship has bloomed.

Once won the World Cinema Audience Award for a dramatic film at the .