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Once

Year: 2006
Production Co: Summit Entertainment
Director: John Carney
Writer: John Carney
Cast: Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova
Often, The best time to watch a film is when it's disappeared from view out of the cinema. In the case of Once, you can assess it without the distorting newspaper ads with critics crowing about how it's the best thing since the steam engine, Steven Spielberg saying he wished he'd made it and the column inches of glowing praise.

Yes, Once is cute. The red-headed, unshaven, scarf-wearing Irish busker looks like a caricature of every other scruffy, roguish Oirishman ever committed to film, and when a young Czech woman makes friends with him, you keep expecting a romance that stumbles, scrapes its knees, and never quite manifests.

Quite what effect these two have on each other that had critics falling over themselves in rapture isn't clear. They do little together other than discover a shared love of music, and even after exploring it it's made little difference to their lives apart from sending each back to what looks like a fairly pitiable existence.

Of course, the above review might be coloured by the writer's hatred of musicals. If you're of the same ilk, steer well clear, as the running time consists of approximately five minutes of talking followed by five minutes of singing or music in a repeating pattern.

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