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Stars: Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova

Director: John Carney

If you ever wondered what happened to Glen Hansard, who played Outspan in Alan Parker's The Commitments, he founded a rock band called The Frames, for whom he still sings and plays. Hansard, whose unusual singing voice is somewhere between a plea and a howl, is the main event in this hard-cursing Irish musical which casts him as a busker looking for the big break.

He strikes up an odd-couple relationship with Czech waif Irglova who, discovering he works in a vacuum repair shop, brings him her broken Hoover while he's busking.

Naturally she sings (a bit) and plays piano (probably better than the film allows her to show) so they collaborate on a demo CD with the help of a trio of busker friends. And, naturally, they fall in love.

But there are problems: he still pines for his faithless girlfriend who has fled to London, while Irglova is married with a two-year-old daughter and has an estranged husband back in the Czech Republic.

Most of the songs are good, although they do go on a bit and the hand-held camerawork comes to be a a bit of a trial after a while. But the piece has a certain charm and the ending is nice (and nicely-judged too).

David Quinlan

Ireland 2007. UK Distributor: Icon. Colour.
85 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 17 Oct 2007