The Swell Season wins the documentary prize for beating viewers over the head with gentleness, with the duo accentuated in rich, photographic chiaroscuro.
- Guy Dixon, Globe and Mail, January 13, 2012
A poignant documentary that tracks the fast rise and slow fall of the Hansard-Irglova fairy tale, through both tunes and tears.
- Peter Howell, Toronto Star, January 12, 2012
For Once lovers who needed a "what happened next?" epilogue, this one moves even as it chastises.
- Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post, December 02, 2011
An emotional erosion captured by the trio in decidedly unromantic black-and-white.
- William Goss, Film.com, December 01, 2011
Overall the film seems like a collection of bits and pieces, and it's hard to see how it could have much resonance for non-fans.
- Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle, November 25, 2011
A documentary that is every bit as intimate and disarming as the movie that made them famous...
- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, November 23, 2011
Like "Once," this film is a tender little piece of heartbreak.
- Kyle Smith, New York Post, October 21, 2011
[A] disarming and intimate documentary...
- Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News, October 21, 2011
What emerges is a poignant commentary on the uneasy commingling of love and fame.
- Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, October 20, 2011
To viewers without a preexisting emotional relationship to the couple and their saga, that everyday angst is just banal.
- Karina Longworth, Village Voice, October 18, 2011
It's an accomplished piece of filmmaking from the trio, who are making their feature-length documentary debut.
- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, October 07, 2011
Ultimately, The Swell Season plays like an even-more-earnest sequel to Once - complete with plenty of new concert footage - which will surely be music to the ears of diehard fans. To everyone else, not so much.
- Simon Miraudo, Quickflix, August 17, 2011
The music is integrated to comment on the status of their relationship during the film and the result is a very sad yet sweet and insightful film.
- Thomas Caldwell, Cinema Autopsy, August 13, 2011
Swell never really gathers momentum, remaining a collection of moments, some more privileged than others.
- Ronnie Scheib, Variety, June 14, 2011
Sensitive doc manages to show Once duo as both blissed-out lovers and post-romance partners without overdramatizing the transition.
- John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter, April 25, 2011
Like any home movie, "The Swell Season" is uneven, but it's full of vivid moments between two painfully honest, likable people, learning some hard truths about fame and love.
- Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times, November 10, 2011
If you can trick yourself into a state of amnesia, this double profile might resonate with you.
- Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York, October 18, 2011
It's too focused on capturing a bygone moment and portraying it as the present, while the band and the couple have inevitably moved on, to a new album, a high-profile suicide at one of their concerts, a band hiatus, and well beyond.
- Tasha Robinson, AV Club, October 06, 2011
Nothing more than a moderately engaging for-fans-only tour diary.
- Nick Schager, Slant Magazine, April 22, 2011