Once

(15)

You'd have to be a churl to take against John Carney's bracing, low-budget account of the personal and professional relationship that blooms between an Irish busker (Glen Hansard) and a Czech migrant (Marketa Irglova). It's a soulful valentine to music, friendship and the joys of honest hard graft, played out in the bedsits and recording studios of a deglamourised Dublin, and running to the kind of warm, easy rhythms that typified Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise. The film's unabashed romanticism might start to grate were it not for Carney's sharp feel for the impoverished circumstances of his main characters; the sense that, for all their flirty banter and boisterous singalongs, these people are pretty much clinging on by their fingertips. It's the grit that makes the pearl.

Contributor

Xan Brooks

The GuardianTramp

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