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Movie Review: The Swell Season
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The Movie God   |  @   |  
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The Swell Season

The Swell Season
DIRECTORS: Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins, Carlo Mirabella-Davis
STARRING: Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová
Seventh Art Releasing
RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2011 (limited)

Everyone has those movies they have a certain kind of special attachment to—movies that moved them, that struck an emotional chord, and left a lasting imprint.

For me, one of those movies was 2006’s Once, which tells the story of musician known only as “Guy” who works at his dad’s vacuum repair shop and makes a little extra coin by singing his songs on the streets of Ireland, and the young Czech girl he meets one day (fittingly dubbed “Girl”) who sells flowers and is also a musician. The two form a strong bond through their music and common troubles they have with former lovers, but, as they go on to collaborate on some incredible music together, each is unsure what it is they want in life and for their futures.

It’s a wonderful little story, and the fact that the film’s stars, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, are real musicians with little to no acting backgrounds whatsoever only adds to its charm. But it’s not really so much about the movie as it is the music. All the heart and soul of Once, the burning fire that fuels the story, it comes from its beautiful and eventual Oscar–winning music. And that’s why it’s a movie that is so important to me personally.

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Trailer: Music Documentary ‘The Swell Season’ Tells Real-Life Story Of ‘Once’ Duo
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The Movie God   |  @   |  
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The Swell Season

If you’ve never seen the indie hit Once, it’s a movie you simply have to see before you die. It’s a beautiful film with one of the greatest soundtracks ever made that tells the story of two musicians falling in love despite the complications in each of their own lives making things very difficult. And the reason the soundtrack is so good is because the two stars of Once, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, aren’t actors at all but actually very talented musicians, who were each awarded an Academy Award for their music in the film.

What those of you who have seen Once might not know, however, is that a real–life romance sparked and faded between the two and a new musical venture called The Swell Season was born.

Now it’s time for that story to be told in the new musical documentary also titled The Swell Season, which is making the festival rounds. You can see the trailer below now!

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Ramona Flowers and 5 Other Manic Pixie Dream Girls Who Aren’t
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Bitch Happy   |  
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RamonaWhen I first picked up Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series, I fell for it, hard. Here, finally, was a quirky, beautiful love interest who wasn’t just another Manic Pixie Dream Girl — a three-dimensional girl with motivations and an inner life of her own. (It doesn’t sound like that should be too much to ask, but the sad case is that it often is.) I found O’Malley’s take on the archetype to be just about perfect.

Then Edgar Wright‘s film adaptation came out, and it was hilarious, and inventive, and energetic, and sweet, and… and yet another story about a Hapless Hero and a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Although the film remained mostly faithful to the main plot of the source material, it had to cut copious amounts of backstory to fit into the running time. Perhaps no one suffered more than Ramona Flowers, who went from a fascinating, complex woman to a pretty trophy to be won.

What was most disappointing about it is that the downgrade felt unnecessary. Manic Pixie Dream Girls abound, but there’s always an opportunity for them to be more than that. Below, in honor of O’Malley’s original Ramona Flowers, are five other Manic Pixie Dream Girls who aren’t.

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