Saturday, January 26, 2008

Two 4-Letter Films

Marketa Irglova and Glenn Hansard in Once
I ordered Once from Netflix and watched it last night. It's a wonderful Irish movie about a street busker (Glen Hansard) who works in his father's Hoover repair shop and meets a young Czech woman (Marketa Irglova) who peddles flowers and lives in a crummy apartment with her mother and her child. He discovers that she too is a musician, a pianist, and they agree to write songs together. The two of them actually did happen to meet in life and wrote the wonderful and unusual songs that form the movie's soundtrack. One of them,"Falling Slowly," has been deservedly nominated for an Academy Award. The acting is so unassuming and natural, their attraction for one another so gradual, convincing, and understated, the ending so perfect, that I could easily have watched it through again.

Tonight, Janne and I went out to see Juno, also a pitch-perfect movie with a great soundtrack--not exactly a love story, but something close to it. Ellen Page is phenomenal as a 16-year-old kid who gets pregnant, is never at a loss for words, and from start to finish embraces her own immaturity while proving herself at least as ready for life as the adults around her. J.T. Simmons and Allison Janney are great as her working class dad and dog-loving step-mom. Michael Sera is convincingly gawky as the clueless but surprisingly sensitive father of her kid. The youthful patter comes thick and fast, usually from the smart-ass mouth of Juno herself. As with Once, I just didn't see any false moves. There's some real tension and angst toward the end, and then the outcome feels just right. I'm tempted to buy the soundtracks for both of these gem-like films.

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