A film of limited production values, a low-quality picture and the occasional flubbed camera move. But it makes up for these flaws with sharp observations, compelling characters and a great collection of music.
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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.
Winningly unpretentious tale uses a wispy romantic narrative as a vehicle for attractive original tunes.
Once feels handmade in the best sense, an impressionistic feast for the senses cobbled together from lovely grace notes and a warm palette of reds and yellows.
This isn't a perfect motion picture but, in the midst of summer's vapid pursuit of spectacle, a movie that provides real heart and emotion is a rare find.
The film has enormous charm and zero pretense.
Focusing strictly on stripped-down performances of great music and the charming chemistry between the two leads, it's a perfectly realized yet unassuming movie that deserves to find a big audience.
What "Rent" should have been, Once is: a Bohemian rhapsody.
Until Once, I'm not sure that I'd ever seen a small-scale, nonstylized, kitchen-sink drama in which the songs take on the majesty and devotion of a musical dream.