Starring: Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová Directed by: John Carney

So I decided that I would write several reviews revolving around love…you know…for Valentine’s Day. The problem is that there are about a million movies about love, and even more when you start blurring the lines a bit. Sure, we can all agree that Love Story is in fact a decent love story, but what about The Fugitive? A wrongly accused man looking for his wife’s one armed killer might not push your buttons, but my first date consisted of making out with a girl in the back row of a theater while The Fugitive was playing…I was 14. Why The Fugitive? It was an hour longer than the other movie playing.

This of course is the problem with writing about love in movies… context. Often our emotional connections to a film have less to do with the movie itself, and more to do with whom we share the experience. Not to mention that love exists in many forms; romantic, paternal, sibling, bromance, farm animals (thanks a lot Black Sheep). My plan is just to shoot scattershot at the whole thing. What you get will be entirely dependent upon how I feel at the moment I sit down to write. I will try to watch some movies I haven’t seen before, but for the most part these reviews are different ways I have enjoyed watching love presented in movies over the years.

I think starting things off simply is the best way to begin anything. The 2007 film Once may be one of the simplest, yet most beautiful little stories about love that I have ever seen. A boy, a girl, a song, and one week in Dublin. The love in this movie is simple as well. Gone are the cliché moments that every romantic movie share, but rather we witness two lonely people who find each other. Over the course of this one week, we remember what the characters remember, there is magic in the connection between two people.

Of course the real magic of this film comes from the music.  In case I didn’t mention it, Once is a musical. Now I know that some people have an aversion to musicals, but you can make an exception this time. Like most musicals, the songs have a way of moving the story forward while saying what our characters cannot. Unlike most musicals, the songs never feel out of place or break the flow of the narrative. It is the organic nature of each song that makes their message resonate on a level that few songs or movies can.

Not everything I write about will be this short or absent of criticism. I thought the first movie should be something that I would feel comfortable recommending to everyone. Once may not feel like most romantic movies you’ve seen before, but that doesn’t mean that it should be counted as anything less than one of the great love stories in recent years.

Written By Drew Martin