“Hope, at the end of the day, is what connects us all.”
So said Marketa Irglova at this year’s Academy Awards after she and co-writer Glen Hansard won the Oscar® for Best Song. As of the award show I had seen the movie Once, uh, twice. Jamie has a knack for falling asleep during movies, no matter how much she likes ’em. She’ll be wide awake one minute, and all of a sudden all those motherhood responsibilities from the day–homeschooling and cooking and teaching piano lessons to the neighborhood kids–sneak up on her and knock her out cold. (Have I mentioned that I think my wife is a remarkable person?)
So there I was on the couch, finishing up Once while my wife slept with her head in my lap. At the end of the movie I was left with such a bittersweet sense of satisfaction that I’m pretty sure my sniffles woke Jamie up. The next day I re-watched the movie and made her stay awake this time, and she was equally moved. (I don’t think I’ve ever before watched the same movie twice in 24 hours.)
So this little independent Irish film made my list of favorites, and I don’t think it’s just because it’s about a songwriter. I got the feeling that the movie has the potential to touch the hearts of all kinds of people, because of the very thing Irglova said at the Oscars®: “Hope, at the end of the day, is what connects us all.”
You’ll have to keep in mind that in Ireland, the F word is about as common as “the” in the U.S. of A. If that’s a hurdle for you, pass on this one. But there’s something really special about this film. It’s hard to say exactly what it is. Maybe it’s the really good songs, or the independent spirit of the filmmakers, or the extremely likable lead actors (in real life and in the film), or the thematic elements of the story itself. Either way, something good came together, and it was a thrill to see that the Academy recognized it.
I love to see the underdog win, so I almost came out of my chair when Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won the award. The only downside was that they cut off Marketa before she could say her thanks. But wait! After the commercial break, John Stewart, in a classy move, invited her back out to enjoy her moment and offer her thanks. What she had to say was good, and I had the feeling that it was a fine moment for struggling independent singer/songwriters everywhere.
Here’s the chorus:
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice
You’ve made it now
Here’s the video, with scenes from the film, and below it is a link to the acceptance speech. Glen and Marketa may live in Ireland, but watching this makes me as proud of them as if they were a part of our Nashville community.
Andrew Peterson is a singer-songwriter and author. Andrew has released more than ten records over the past twenty years, earning him a reputation for songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. As an author, Andrew’s books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga, released in collectible hardcover editions through Random House in 2020, and his creative memoir, Adorning the Dark, released in 2019 through B&H Publishing.