You know how sometimes Emeril will come over to your house and cook you a magnificent “BAM!” filled dinner but it doesn’t make you happy because really all you wanted in the first place was a really good turkey sandwich? And then when you have that sandwich, you’re so content and satisfied, you swear you might actually start purring?*
That’s how I felt watching “Once,” a movie written and directed by John Carney, set in Ireland and starring folks I’d never heard of but hope to see again. “Once” tells the very simple story of a street musician who fixes vacuum cleaners by day and writes songs by night. He meets a young woman, an immigrant who shares his passion for music. They spend one week together writing and recording songs, and sharing a kind of romance that’s much more about inspiration and mental connections than, as the young woman puts it, “hanky panky.”
There’s no big revelation in this story. No surprise ending and very little plot. Just two characters who are so well-crafted and real that you’d swear this was a documentary. And then there’s the music, which really serves as the movie’s driving force, bringing people together and creating joy out of small moments.
“Once” isn’t a gourmet meal. It’s a reminder that sometimes life’s simple stories are all that we need to feel truly satisfied.
* And yes, I once had a dream like this.