'Once' Critic Reviews

100%
MovieWeb:   1 reviews
97%
Rotten Tomatoes:   157 reviews
  • Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    92
    The movie swoons, and you will too.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • A.O. Scott New York Times (Top Critic)
    80
    Once makes a persuasive case that the real future of the movie musical may lie not in splashy grandeur but in modesty and understatement.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Xan Brooks Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    80
    A soulful valentine to music, friendship and the joys of honest hard graft, played out in the bedsits and recording studios of a deglamourised Dublin.
    Full Review » 7 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    88
    Once is a winning and engaging portrait of two people's powerful connection through music.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Ann Hornaday Washington Post (Top Critic)
    Even the uninitiated will be hard-pressed to resist the movie's charms, from its likable leading players and its charming Dublin setting to its wistful take on modern love.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Ty Burr Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    100
    In its brief running time, writer-director John Carney does something both profound and unexpected: He reinvents the movie musical as a genre of swooning rock 'n' roll realism.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Robert Wilonsky Village Voice (Top Critic)
    The magic of the movie is how utterly wrenching it renders [its] songs, which thrive alongside the film's simple, eloquent, dusky narrative.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    75
    Once isn't especially complex, but the chemistry between its appealing leads feels deeply true. You'd have to look awfully hard to find such sincerity in a Hollywood romance.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    It takes all of 10 seconds for John Carney's Once to announce itself as something special.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    84
    Stripped of just about all artifice and dazzle, shot on the cheap on city streets, this Sundance gem is wiser about artistic creation and the fickle ways of love than any song-and-dance spectacular you've recently encountered.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    88
    One of the movie's pleasures is that it keeps us asking what sort of love story will Once become?
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Mary Houlihan Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    100
    [A] wonderful film that is one of the year's best.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    100
    For reasons they'll have to go to hell for someday, the Motion Picture Association of America ratings board gave Once an R, for a handful of swear words. Ignore that. And enjoy the film.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    The songs don't advance the narrative lyrically so much as follow the two characters' uncertain relationship through the slow realization of their themes; in particular a scene in which they first jam together in the back room of a music store is a gem.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    Told with the simplicity of a Chaplin film (more than once I was reminded of City Lights), Once has the tentative and unpredictable amble of a chance encounter rather than the absolute and overdetermined structure of a Hollywood film.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    88
    The captivating Irish musical romance Once will warm all but the stoniest hearts.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    92
    A sweet, raw blessing of a film.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Bill Muller Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    80
    Given [director] Carney's roughshod methods, Once never resembles a standard studio offering, which works much to its benefit. Between Carney's unadorned writing and his rustic directing approach, Once always remains grounded in reality.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Andrew Sarris New York Observer (Top Critic)
    Don't miss Once. It has to be seen and heard to be believed and enjoyed.
    Full Review » 7 years ago
  • Dennis Harvey Variety (Top Critic)
    Pic's charm seems so offhand one might not notice the skill with which helmer John Carney pulls it off, or how it plays like a full-blown musical without anyone bursting into song.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Kyle Smith New York Post (Top Critic)
    88
    So heartfelt and sparse, so quietly genuine with its dingy digital images -- so not Rent.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    100
    This lovely tale of a love affair between a Dublin street musician and a flower girl will leave you wistful for more. It's a movie to fall in love with and a movie to fall in love during. It is the most naturalistic musical ever.
    Full Review » 7 years ago
  • Linda Barnard Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    88
    This indie musical is a bijou of a film that joins unaffected performances and a compelling soundtrack in a low-budget, documentary-style film that lets us watch two people fall in love to the mesmerizing soundtrack of the songs they create.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • Mark Bourne Film.com (Top Critic)
    Once doesn't plop its emotions on its characters' sleeves, and it trusts us enough to leave some of the best stuff unstated. In other words, it trusts us to know that half the music lies between the notes.
    Full Review » 7 years ago
  • Rick Groen Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    88
    Sweet but never cloying, simple without being simplistic, delicate yet not at all precious, this is a film guaranteed to set your toes to tapping even as it plays a number on your heartstrings.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
AVG. RATING 4.8 SUPERB
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27 people have rated Once
  • 19
    71%
  • 4 Star:
    7
    26%
  • 3 Star:
    1
    4%
  • 2 Star:
    0%
  • 1 Star:
    0%
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