ImageOnce upon a time there was a really good Irish film called ‘Once’ that was made into an even better musical called ‘Once’ that we went to see just over a week ago (sadly, just once). 

 I loved it for lots of reasons:  the beautiful music, the quixotic heroine, the energy, the humour, the opposite-of-Hollywood-ending.  (If you don’t believe me about the music, you can hear a sample here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW8h7vKtxqw  )

 The story is simple and subtle and is built up slowly and almost imperceptibly through the music and the interplay between a small cast of characters.  It’s about an Irish busker and ‘hoover-fixer’ who is feeling stuck.  He meets a young Czech mother who is also struggling and through friendship and a shared love of music, they both enable each other to have the courage and hope to move forward.

 It’s about love, but not in the way that it is normally portrayed.  The two main characters (called simply, ‘guy’ and ‘girl’) are clearly drawn to each other and have a deep connection but ‘getting together’ in the usual Hollywood sense is not the most loving choice they can make.  They love each other enough to recognise and draw out the best in each other for the sake of the music they create.  They realise that their responsibilities mean that they will have to take a harder road, but their friendship empowers them to have the strength to do it.

 Life is full of these choices, usually on a smaller scale.  Which is the most loving choice, even if it is harder?  What will bring out the best in the other person?   Love isn’t as straightforward as we sometimes pretend that is.  ‘Love’s all very well, but in the hands of people it turns into soup,’ as one character says.

 Which kind of love do we want to believe in? The makes-me-happy in the moment kind of love or powerful force that can turn lives around and change the world? (They’re not necessarily mutually exclusive, but they can be.)

 ‘…Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice…’

2 comments on “once

  1. Paul Arnold says:

    Very nicely put. I’d found it a hard story to sum up but you’ve got it there…

  2. Ceri P says:

    Reblogged this on Amber Lights in the Sky and commented:
    I definitely need to see this now…

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