For my readers in Lexington, Once, one of the year's most unique and talked about films, has finally opened in the area, at Greensboro's Carousel Cinemas.

Do yourself a favor and go see this film.

From my review:
Watching "Once" is like a shot of adrenaline to the heart in a summer filled with bland and soulless studio product. It redefines and revolutionizes cinema in much the same way as Jean Luc Godard's groundbreaking "Breathless" did in 1960, with its shaky camera-work and jumpy editing, juxtaposed with observant long takes and contemplative pacing. Hansard and Irglova command the screen like a modern-day Irish version of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, with an unassuming and ultimately chaste sexiness that is only enhanced by the film's pared-down, unpolished production values. They are two of the most real, soulful characters cinema has seen in a long time.

The same goes for the film's story, which acknowledges the mysteries of love and the unpredictability of human connection - that things don't always turn out perfectly. Like Bob and Charlotte in Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation," the characters of "Once" forge an all too brief but profoundly deep connection that is beautiful in its simplicity and its ultimate reality.

Carney has captured something wise and beautiful here, and he is aided tremendously by the stunning songs written by Hansard and Irglova themselves, which recalls the work of Damien Rice with its lovely Irish lilting tinged with acoustic-driven modern folk. The pivotal "Falling Slowly" is quite simply one of the best love songs by anyone in years and is a major front-runner for Oscar consideration in the Best Original Song category.

The same could be said for the film itself, of course. I can't remember the last romance that has been so affecting and deeply felt, especially one that doesn't even feature so much as a peck on the cheek. "Once" expresses its feelings through its music, making for a skillful and highly original work of art. Carney navigates the complicated waters of human emotions with a simple and steady hand that leaves an indelible impression on the mind and the heart.


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