When one hears the word “musical” one often thinks of a film like Chicago or Singing in the Rain. But the genre is more diverse than movies about folks breaking into song on the street corner. There is a whole roster of films that are musicals in that songs actively forward the narrative, but integrate those songs into the story by having the characters sing realistically. Once is in that tradition.
Once is charming and pleasing. It’s the simple story of an Irish busker/musician who meets a sweet eastern European immigrant and the two write and record music together as they become close. There really isn’t much to this story. If it wasn’t for the music and the charm of the two leads, there wouldn’t really be any reason to see this film. It is fairly standard but it manages to be quite romantic and tragic without ever being manipulative or feeling staged.
The songs make up this film. The music is by far the strongest aspect of the film and it will win you over. It makes it worth the ride. The ending is very satisfying and realistic as well. Make sure you check this out Once.