Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Movie Review: The Swell Season (2011)

The Swell Season movie poster
The Swell Season (2011) - Directed by Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins, Carlo Mirabella-Davis.

By Kenny Howell

If Once was Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova falling in love, then the documentary of their band, The Swell Season is them drifting apart.

While Once was a fictional tale, the film's stars, Hansard and Irglova, did fall in love. They won an Oscar for their terrific song, Falling Slowly, released a good new album together, then two good solo albums apart. They made other great songs like The Moon, which has found its way onto some movie soundtracks.

The documentary explores their lives after their meteoric rise. As expected, the new found fame is tough to adjust to, and it hurts their relationship and well-being. Hansard, who seems like a really together dude, shows a lot of vulnerability. His follow-up album, Rhythm and Repose, tended toward the depressing side, and this movie helps put that into perspective. He was having trouble dealing with his new found fame, relationships, the loss of his father, and it poured out in a great album. Irglova, since the movie, has been married and then divorced, so knowing that leaves a depressed mood over her future.

It takes awhile for the documentary to get to the meat of the story. We see a lot of their tour, but it isn't until late until they start pondering their place in the world. There are some touching conversations late in the film that should have been the focus, like Glen's talk with his mom about what his legacy means.

Also, there was no reason to shoot this in black and white. I am not sure why the filmmakers decided that, but they did. and it was a bit distracting.

Rating: ***

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