January 23, 2007

Sundance. Once.

Once "It's the sort of completely un-hyped, unheralded little gem you go to a festival like Sundance hoping to find and, every once in a while, do," blogs the LA Weekly's Scott Foundas. "I don't want to overstate the case for Once - it is, after all, a very small story about a Dublin street musician (Glen Hansard, of the band The Frames) who meets up with a Czech immigrant pianist (Markéta Irglová) and discovers that they make beautiful music together. But I liked this movie right from the opening scene... Once is at its best when it bursts into song, which is, fortuitously, most of the time."

"I loved it and the music was perfect," agrees AICN's Quint.

"Writer-director John Carney has a great talent for capturing the way it's often easier to be intimate with strangers than friends," writes Cinematical's James Rocchi. "Shot on digital video and shot through with passion, Once is a true pleasure that only the rankest cynic couldn't enjoy."

IndieWIRE interviews Carney.

"Sometimes a movie leaves you with such a warm feeling, you just want to point people in the general direction of its reflected light, and not write about it, not describe modest virtues in a way that oversells genuine heart and soul," writes Ray Pride. And Once "is one of those movies."

Update, 1/25: Once again (sorry), Ray Pride: "More than a couple of Sundance sins got committed yesterday: For one, I saw Once twice; who sees a movie twice at a film festival when there's so much else possibly to see and do? But the simple beauty of John Carney's romantic musical was even more powerful a second time around." A helluva photo accompanies the entry.

Update, 1/26: Salon's Andrew O'Hehir: "Carney has measured the bitter and the sweet in precise proportions in Once; this is a romance for everyone who has ever fallen in love when you weren't really free to do so. A wistful and delightful little film, just the thing to send me on a jet plane homeward with an Irish song in my heart."

Update, 1/29: Tom Hall: "Mark my words, John Carney's Once is going to be a minor sensation if it is ever given the chance to build word of mouth in US theaters."

Update, 1/30: Scott Foundas: "In the seven years I've been coming to Sundance, I'm not sure that I've ever seen a film so completely captivate the public and the critics alike as John Carney's Once, the Irish musical drama whose little-movie-that-could odyssey was completed Saturday night when it collected the audience award in Sundance's world dramatic competition.... But as I learned from speaking to the film's producers, before Once was selected by Sundance it had been rejected by several high-profile North American and international festivals, which says something telling (and unfortunate) about the kind of snobbery that can infect the festival selection process."

Update, 2/3: Fox Searchlight picks up Once. Movie City News has the press release.

Coverage of the coverage: The Park City Index.

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Posted by dwhudson at January 23, 2007 12:12 AM