Once

One of this year’s great sleepers. A vacuum-cleaner repairman (Glen Hansard) moonlights as a street singer, and a passer-by (Markéta Irglová) takes a liking to his songs. The two strike up a friendship that would become a love affair if it weren’t for certain circumstances. While their story is sweet, it’s the musical performances that make this film a must-see. When the two first collaborate in a music store, him on guitar and her on piano, it’s true movie magic. Hansard (who appeared in The Commitments) has a voice that is sometimes reminiscent of Cat Stevens in his heyday, and Irglová has a naturalistic beauty that will make many fall in love with her on-screen persona. The story is quite unconventional, and its conclusion is a surprise.

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