Last night I saw the movie Once. It came highly recommended by a couple friends. It's a low-budget movie set in Dublin that was filmed with natural light, in less than a month, and for a grand total of about $160K. The two main characters are unnamed throughout the movie, listed as only "guy" and "girl" in the credits. They are both musicians who work repairing Hoover vacuum cleaners and cleaning houses/selling flowers on the street, respectively.
I loved it. When I say that it's a "feel-good" movie, it might conjure up all sort of movie-past experiences like The Little Mermaid or Sandlot, movies that left their audiences, for the most part, bathed in happy thoughts and wearing smiles for the drive home. But that wouldn't be what I mean at all by saying Once is a feel-good movie. I'm contrasting it with another variety of movie that seems to suck life out of its audience--at least out of me--because life can't seem to co-exist with the emptiness on the screen. Two Days in Paris would be a good recent example of this sort of movie. In contrast, Once showed good people who have been bruised, but who lived hopefully and expectantly. Not in a passive way, but actively: creating music, reaching out, respecting personal standards, showing kindness, making things happen, loving unselfishly. So many movies these days reek of cynicism, but this one used humble characters to gift the audience with beauty of spirit and art. In USA Today, Steven Spielberg was quoted as saying, "A little movie called Once gave me enough inspiration to last the rest of the year."
This morning I sat down at the piano and played for awhile, something I love to do but don't do for long periods of time because there are always so many other more urgent things to be doing. The movie made it seem important to play again.