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Once Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… sweet and scruffy and unassuming. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Until Once, I'm not sure that I'd ever seen a small-scale, nonstylized, kitchen-sink drama in which the songs take on the majesty and devotion of a musical dream.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Once is the kind of film I've been pestered about ever since I started reviewing again. People couldn't quite describe it, but they said I had to see it. I had to. Well, I did. They were right.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Once proves to be as smart and funny as it is sweet; it swirls with ambiguity and conflict beneath a simple surface. In all of 88 minutes, Mr. Carney's singular fable follows its guy and girl through a week of musical and emotional growth that could suffice for a lifetime.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter James Greenberg

    The film has enormous charm and zero pretense.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Once is a film for anyone who has ever been transported by the power and passion of music.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Once reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Sweet, romantic musical hits all the right notes.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although there's a fair amount of swearing in this endearing indie romance -- particularly "f--k" -- hardly anything else would raise a flag for teens and up. In fact, it's one of the few love stories that doesn't require its leads to get naked or fall in bed together. A thief does try to make off with the musician's street earnings, and there's some bitter talk of past breakups, plenty of beer drinking, and flirtation between a married woman and a single man (even though both know she's still married). But the positive messages about love and emotional connection outweigh any iffiness.

  • Families can talk about what makes this movie so different from typical Hollywood romances. How does the main couple connect without having sex? Do other movies rely too much on establishing relationships primarily through getting physical? How do most movies define "love"? Is that realistic? Families can also discuss the fact that movies often portray the pursuit of dreams. Do these dreams seem attainable? If not, how do you keep the faith?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The characters develop a wonderful, delicate, and respectful romance; from the onset, they treat each other like equals (a rare thing onscreen). Lots of emphasis is placed on pursuing your dreams, and the couple is very supportive of each other's wants and needs. Characters care for both their elders and their children with grace. A couple of sour notes: Lots of swearing, and a man drives after some drinks and no sleep.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: No overt violence, but some potentially upsetting scenes related to poverty -- families shoehorned into very small apartments, for instance.

  • sex false0

    Sex: A man propositions a woman, but indirectly and awkwardly. One mention of "hanky panky," but in a jovial, respectful manner. Sexual tension, but the focus is on the couple's burgeoning emotional attachment, not what would happen if they got naked.

  • language false5

    Language: Lots of swearing, usually involving "f--k" -- as in "for f--k's sake" and "f--king brilliant."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Very little, though the street musician sings in front of a CD store with the name fully displayed.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some smoking in pubs; lots of drinking in social situations.