Once Reviews

  • The movie swoons, and you will too.

    Owen Gleiberman — Entertainment Weekly

  • Once makes a persuasive case that the real future of the movie musical may lie not in splashy grandeur but in modesty and understatement.

    A.O. Scott — New York Times

  • 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.

    Xan Brooks — Guardian [UK]

  • Once is a winning and engaging portrait of two people's powerful connection through music.

    Claudia Puig — USA Today

  • Even the uninitiated will be hard-pressed to resist the movie's charms, from its likable leading players and its charming Dublin setting to its wistful take on modern love.

    Ann Hornaday — Washington Post

  • In its brief running time, writer-director John Carney does something both profound and unexpected: He reinvents the movie musical as a genre of swooning rock 'n' roll realism.

    Ty Burr — Boston Globe

  • The magic of the movie is how utterly wrenching it renders [its] songs, which thrive alongside the film's simple, eloquent, dusky narrative.

    Robert Wilonsky — Village Voice

  • Once isn't especially complex, but the chemistry between its appealing leads feels deeply true. You'd have to look awfully hard to find such sincerity in a Hollywood romance.

    Elizabeth Weitzman — New York Daily News

  • It takes all of 10 seconds for John Carney's Once to announce itself as something special.

    Joe Morgenstern — Wall Street Journal

  • Stripped of just about all artifice and dazzle, shot on the cheap on city streets, this Sundance gem is wiser about artistic creation and the fickle ways of love than any song-and-dance spectacular you've recently encountered.

    Chris Vognar — Dallas Morning News

  • One of the movie's pleasures is that it keeps us asking what sort of love story will Once become?

    Lisa Kennedy — Denver Post

  • [A] wonderful film that is one of the year's best.

    Mary Houlihan — Chicago Sun-Times

  • For reasons they'll have to go to hell for someday, the Motion Picture Association of America ratings board gave Once an R, for a handful of swear words. Ignore that. And enjoy the film.

    Michael Phillips — Chicago Tribune

  • 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.

    J. R. Jones — Chicago Reader

  • Told with the simplicity of a Chaplin film (more than once I was reminded of City Lights), Once has the tentative and unpredictable amble of a chance encounter rather than the absolute and overdetermined structure of a Hollywood film.

    Carrie Rickey — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • The captivating Irish musical romance Once will warm all but the stoniest hearts.

    Colin Covert — Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • A sweet, raw blessing of a film.

    Tom Long — Detroit News

  • Given [director] Carney's roughshod methods, Once never resembles a standard studio offering, which works much to its benefit. Between Carney's unadorned writing and his rustic directing approach, Once always remains grounded in reality.

    Bill Muller — Arizona Republic

  • Don't miss Once. It has to be seen and heard to be believed and enjoyed.

    Andrew Sarris — New York Observer

  • Pic's charm seems so offhand one might not notice the skill with which helmer John Carney pulls it off, or how it plays like a full-blown musical without anyone bursting into song.

    Dennis Harvey — Variety

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