What It’s About
A joyous little gem, “Sing Street,” hits the right notes in its depiction of teen life. The 1985 setting in Dublin adds much texture to its theme of music as the universal language that connects and transforms us.
For anyone who fondly remembers early MTV and was a fan of the second British Invasion in the mid-1980s (Duran Duran, U2, The Cure, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, Dexy’s Midnight Runners), this movie will strike a synth-pop chord.
With its throwback to the sweet teen romances featured in John Hughes movies, too, there is much to enjoy in writer-director John Carney’s third paean to street musicians. He writes dialogue with zip and wit, and his attention to detail is remarkable.
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After “Once” and ‘Begin Again” had breakout hits, this film’s original music may get a ‘bounce’ too.
This comedy-drama combines the exuberance of youth with the realities of teenage hormones, school drama and family turmoil. Conor (a fresh-faced Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) crushes on a pretty girl, inviting her to be in his band’s music video. Now he must form a band, desperate and urgent.
Putting together the band, writing songs, and deepening relationships transforms Conor, now called Cosmo.
His guiding light is his older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor), a music lover with a huge LP collection. He is frittering his life away at home after dropping out of college.
There’s nothing quite like finding your passion in life and following those dreams, and ‘Sing Street” nails Cosmo’s feeling well.
The young cast of mostly unknowns are likable lads, with Walsh-Peelo destined to be a star and Lucy Boynton (“Miss Potter”) a bigger name after her turn as the troubled beauty Raphina.
The grown-ups are UK veteran actors recognizable from other films. Maria Doyle Kennedy (“The Commitments’) and Aidan Gillen (“Game of Thrones”) are the parents going through a rough patch in their relationship.
Reynor (“Transformers 4”), resembling a long-haired Seth Rogen, is memorable as Brendan, the brother with some issues of his own.
The scenes of shooting the band’s primitive music videos in the streets, with its rag-tag costumes, are pure fun.
A highlight is an ebullient music video fantasy sequence that recalls the high school scene in “Back to the Future” and perfectly weaves in the cast of characters.
Whenever the music transports us, it’s pure fun.
What Doesn’t Work
There are a few plot threads that aren’t thoroughly explored, but for the most part, everything comes together well in an unpredictable way.
Nobody captures the exhilaration and excitement of music quite like John Carney does. “Sing Street” elevates the beats of life with considerable charm.
- Director: John Carney
- Cast: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Aiden Gallen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Jack Reynor, and Lucy Boynton
- Rated PG-13 (for thematic elements, including strong language and some bullying behavior, a suggestive image, drug material and teen smoking)
- 106 minutes