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Showing on Sky Movies Premiere today at 4.00pm, tomorrow at midnight and Friday at 4.20pm

Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova

Is this film a musical?

I had to ask myself this question after watching the movie a few days ago.

In my book, a musical is an all-singing, all-dancing showbiz extravaganza with flying monkeys, flying motorcars, magic slippers, or the superhuman ability to run up a steep hill and carry on singing.

But this film is none of the above.

It’s full of music though. It’s mainly acoustic, angst-ridden music penned by a copper-haired Dublin vacuum cleaner repairman (Glen Hansard) who’s trying to get over his girlfriend. He makes this gritty music with a young Czech single mum (Marketa Irglova) who’s struggling to forget about her absent husband. She can play the piano, he plays the guitar, they both sing (although his high notes remind me of the song my cat sings after using his tray), and together they discover a shared enthusiasm for music. They improvise together in a music shop, he shares his creations with her, and they eventually endeavour to record a demo of his songs.

Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova

So, there are no full-blown orchestral numbers, no dancers leaping onto the screen and no bursting into song at the drop of a hat.

In fact, this film is grounded in reality. It’s gritty, rather grey and completely down to earth. You won’t find blurred lines between fantasy and reality here. Theft, foul language, cloudy weather and a faceless high street all appear in the opening scene. It’s certainly a far cry from tradition’s ruby slippers, edelweiss, top hats and toot sweets.

So is it a musical?

Well, as the two city dwellers get to know each other, their music making takes on a life of its own. It remains simple and real, but, because of the emotional bond growing between the unnamed pair, it somehow manages to become something magical and uplifting, and that’s where this movie starts to strongly resemble the sort of musical that I’m familiar with.

Marketa Irglova,Glen Hansard,

I’m not even into indie music, but I can’t deny that its power works here. The song Falling Slowly