It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
I'm not at all surprised that my esteemed colleague Michael Phillips of the Tribune selected John Carney's “Once” as the best film of 2007.
I gave it my Special Jury Prize, which is sort of an equal first; no movie was going to budge “Juno” off the top of my list. “Once” was shot for next to nothing in 17 days, doesn't even give names to its characters, is mostly music with not a lot of dialog, and is magical from beginning to end. It's one of those films where you hold your breath, hoping it knows how good it is, and doesn't take a wrong turn.
It doesn't. Even the ending is the right ending, the more you think about it.
The film is set in Dublin, where we see a street musician singing for donations. This is the Guy (Glen Hansard). He attracts an audience of the Girl (Marketa Irglova). She loves his music. She's a pianist herself. He wants to hear her play. She doesn't have a piano. She takes him to a music store where she knows the owner, and they use a display piano. She plays some Mendelssohn. We are in love with this movie. He is falling in love with her. He just sits there and listens. She is falling in love with him. She just sits there and plays. There is an unusual delay before we get the obligatory reaction shot of the store owner, because all the movie wants to do is sit there and listen, too.