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Once is Three Times Better
by Luz Hernandez

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Music and love... what's more natural than that?

Music and love... what's more natural than that?
Sure, you'll stand in line for hours to catch the spider, the ogre, and the pirate... but let's face it, the summer's just beginning--kids all over the nation are still in school, for cryin' out loud--and what in the world are you going to do with yourself after you've gotten your fill of webby acrobatics, crude humor, and sea monsters?

Obviously, the best solution for any self-respecting movie aficionado is to seek relief from the soaring temperatures at your nearest movie theater. That used to be the whole point of summer blockbusters, after all. But this year, when the movie pickins start slimming down, don't settle for a film that'll leave your brain as soft as that ice cream you left in your car last week... instead, choose something different, something cutting-edge and fresh.

Why not? It worked for John Carney. The Dublin-born writer and director of the new film, Once, has been in the film industry for quite some time, despite his young age, but he's now making a conscious decision to break out of the traditional, big-name, big-money norm with this musical that's not really a musical. It's a deceivingly simple film, with real-life musicians (Glen Hansard, playing The Guy, is the lead singer/guitarist of the Irish
You can't buy perfection in a film.

You can't buy perfection in a film.
pop group The Frames and Markéta Irglová, who plays The Girl, is a Czech multi-instrumentalist and songwriter) in the starring roles, their very own music on the soundtrack, and just an overall, earthy feel about the whole thing.

In a nutshell, this film is amazing. Not only has it earned impressive reviews by critics, but more importantly, it has also succeeded in pleasantly surprising viewers from all walks of life--even those who claim to dislike typical musicals. And that was Carney's goal all along. He wanted to create a musical that was completely natural, that didn't “feel” like a musical, one in which people didn't jump up and break into song-and-dance numbers at very opportune moments within a farfetched and conveniently arranged plot.

With Once, he has achieved perfection in the most natural way possible. This music in the film is magnificent, sure. It's hauntingly beautiful and stays in your mind. But the film's not only about music. It's about life and love, hardships and pain, coping and forgiveness. You might laugh and cry... but you'll certainly feel and think.

And after a fast-paced summer of Hollywood glamour (and Far Far Away glitz), you'll be ready for this refreshing piece of cinematic art.

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Other Columns
Other columns by Luz Hernandez:

A Battle of Wills: Arnett & Forte Duke It Out

Catalina Sandino Morales, Pure and Simple

Rai: Indian Warya Princess

Jason Statham: A Job Well Done

When Beauty Prevails

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Luz Hernandez
Luz Hernandez is a devoted movie watcher with a background in creative writing and translation.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Luz Hernandez by clicking here.

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