So is it lopsided to cite Spielberg or Kubrick twice in best films lists?
Once shows modern day Ireland, shot at real locations like Grafton Street, Merrion Square, George’s Street Arcade, Sandymount Strand, St. Stephen’s Green, Walton’s Music Shop, and more Dublin environs. The city is presented in a very interesting way, similar to how Woody Allen portrays New York. It’s real and not overly romanticized, but still charming in its own right.
It also shines a light on immigration/multiculturalism issues 10 years before those concerns would be at the forefront of everyday conversations.
The characters are presented as real Irish people just trying to make their way. If anything, abiding by your “can’t be lopsided” logic, you bump out Sing Street in favor of Once because as a period piece, Sing Street was very limited in terms of what the production could portray, where they could shoot, and so on.
Once was much freer and as a result, it has more to say about Ireland and Irish-ness. I mean, the main thrust of Sing Street was “this place is terrible, we’ve got to get out of here”, the only joy the characters had was isolated to their musical cocoon. That’s a realistic (given the ‘80’s context) but poor representation of a great country and people who have experienced a rapid economic and social upheaval in recent times. Ireland is one of the youngest, coolest places in Europe nowadays.
And no, I’m not Irish, but I’ve been there a few times.