The Swell Season

  • Genre: Documentary

  • Directors: Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins, Carlo Mirabella-Davis

  • Stars: Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova

  • Rate: ** 1/2

The triumphant Oscar acceptance speech that introduced the world to Falling Slowly songwriters Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova is not the climax of The Swell Season but rather a beginning: this ragged black-and-white documentary examines what happened after the unexpected breakthrough of the 2008 indie musical-romance Once.

Lifelong friends and former lovers despite their near-30-year age disparity, Hansard and Irglova cling together and drift apart during a concert tour capitalizing on Once’s success; the film is intimately observed but suffers from an absence of compelling drama.

The subjects are ultimately just too nice.

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