Netflix It: ‘Once’

Katie Presley

“Once” is the kind of movie you get done watching and then ask yourself, “Why do I EVER watch movies that aren’t independent?” The answer is: because you’re brainwashed. Fight the system. Watch “Once.”

Shot documentary-style in Ireland, the movie follows a broken-hearted musician (Glen Hansard, who looks like a real guy) who is swept off his feet by a charming, forward foreigner (Marketa Irglova, who wears no makeup and looks like a real girl).   More than their romance, “Once” follows the music the two make together over one intense week.

Their names are never revealed, so that we know them only as “Guy” and “Girl” in the credits, but amazingly you never realize you don’t know them.   The characters are so real they don’t have to force an identity on us. They have real singing voices, recorded in front of the camera, which makes the incredible soundtrack that much more remarkable. Rarely do films with music made especially for them handle the transition well (there’s that moment when the whole audience goes “Oh my god, she’s supposed to be writing ‘Not a Girl, Not yet a Woman'”), but this one nails it.

It’s incredibly refreshing to watch a love story that doesn’t need the love. Guy and Girl are attracted to each other, but broken hearts and secret spouses make getting together impossible. What matters to them, and to us, is the connection they have over a piano and a guitar. Their relationship works because it doesn’t work. Because, you know. In real life they don’t always unfold like they do in “13 Going on 30.”

Watch “Once” for the accents, the unassuming acting and Glen Hansard’s facial hair. And for god’s sake, watch it for the soundtrack.