An Irish singer-songwriter with a lingering broken heart (Hansard) meets a spunky Czech immigrant (Irglova) while busking on the streets of Dublin. He soon discovers that she has a special musical talent, and she admires his music, too. The two quickly become warm friends and collaborators, and it's clear they are becoming emotionally involved as well. But for this pair, falling in love is no simple matter.
John Carney's gorgeously spare drama has a homemade feel, which is perfect for the story of two people with some emotional baggage who nevertheless find a way to connect through music. Real-life bards Hansard (of the Irish band, The Frames) and Irglova (an artist in her own right) write beautiful songs together, and their performances as actors and singers in "Once" couldn't feel more natural, nor tug at your heartstrings more insistently. Kudos to Carney (Hansard's former bass player) for having the courage to tell such a blissfully simple story.