MOVIE: SING STREET
STARRING: FERDIA WALSH-PEELO; LUCY BOYNTON; JACK REYNOR; AIDAN GILLEN
DIRECTED BY: JOHN CARNEY
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 4 STARS (Out of 4)
I was charmed, swooned, and wooed by the kind gentle spirit of Sing Street. Director/writer John Carney (Once; Begin Again) brings us an amalgamation of everything that is great about movies. From the pleasing coming of age story of a high-school kid starting his own band in the 80's, to the romance between a boy and a girl, it has just about all of the things possible that would coax a four star rating out of me. Sing Street is a fantastic success, a pure joy for everyone to see, because movies should make everyone as happy as this one made me.
Given my Irish heritage, I have a weak spot for movies set in Ireland (Last year's Brooklyn was my #1 movie of 2015). Conor's (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) parents are constantly arguing in the background, but while their marriage is falling apart, his brother Brendan (Jack Reynor) takes him under his wing to school him on 80's pop-rock, specifically the music of Duran Duran. Brendan's own dreams have passed him by, and now his days consist of smoking weed in his room, listening to his vinyl collection, and instilling all his hope into Conor. Carney nails the films sibling relationship between the two brothers and middle child sister. As the three bond over their parents eventual demise, I latched onto all of this, especially being one of three children who personally dealt with a similar disintegration of my home life.
The family breaks down forces Conor to transfer to the stricter, priest-run Syng Street public school, where the bully's run the show and the clergy are just as ruthless. While standing outside before the bell rings, our hero notices the beautiful Raphina (Lucy Boynton) hanging out on the steps of the girls orphanage. A light bulb hits and he asks her if she would be in his music video. She agrees, only now he needs to actually start a band. He gravitates to the multi talented Eamon (Mark McKenna) to help with songwriting, while thick accent red head Ngig (Percy Chamburuka) deems himself the manager in charge.
Carney is an expert at films involving music. His smash-hit feature, Once, won an Academy Award for original Song (“Falling Slowly”) and was turned into a Tony Award winning musical. It also helped make musician Glen Hansard a household name in the states. Then, he made 2013's underrated, poppy and fluffy Begin Again, which lacked the raw independent look of Once, but proved Kiera Knightley could sing, Adam Levine could act, and received another original song Oscar nomination. Sing Street is his masterpiece, as it's a throwback to the John Hughes films of the 80's, a revival of the pop-rock sound, a pleasing love story, and feels relatable to Lukas Moodysson's 2013's outcast German punk rock movie We Are the Best.
Wait until you have a listen to the original music that Conor writes and sings throughout the film. You will instantly add the soundtrack to your playlist. Songs such as “Up” or “The Riddle of the Model” capture the spirit of the period. Meanwhile, Conor's unrequited love for Raphina grows stronger as he continues to discover music by bands such as The Cure and A Flock Seagulls. His personal looks shift as he becomes more adventurous with his style explorations, caring less what others think about him, making Rock and Roll his way of life, and hoping to “get the girl".
If Sing Street does not get you with the charming music, it will get you with the gentle love story. And if it still doesn’t warm your heart with those moments, you will certainly relate to the coming of age experience for Conor. Sing Street is one of the best movies of 2016; A crowd pleaser that everyone will be singing with praise.
Written by: Leo Brady