Once | Chicago Reader

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86 minutes
In the opening scene of John Carney's engaging 2006 indie, a Dublin busker (Glen Hansard of the Frames) hands his guitar to a passerby and gives chase to the wastrel who's snatched his guitar case and change, but when he finally collars the culprit, he lets him keep the money. That sort of humanity infuses the movie, a low-budget and leisurely plotted DV project in which the singer, a poor vacuum-cleaner repairman, falls in love with a young Czech immigrant (Marketa Irglova) who plays the piano and helps him put together a band for a demo session. The songs don't advance the narrative lyrically so much as follow the two characters' uncertain relationship through the slow realization of their themes; in particular a scene in which they first jam together in the back room of a music store is a gem.

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