Sing Street

 photo sing_street_zpsduq0wmav.jpg photo starrating-4andahalfstars.jpgA new film from director John Carney is reason to celebrate. The filmmaker specializes in low-budget indie pictures where music plays an integral part. He knows a thing or two about constructing a compelling romance too. Sweetness, optimism and soul – he includes all the things that turn a movie into something you want to keep close to your heart. Once won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for 2007. In 2013 Begin Again was nominated for the very same award. Now comes Sing Street and if there’s any justice, one of these tunes will get nominated too. Honestly I’d be happy if the entire Oscar category was made up of choices from this film. May I suggest “The Riddle Of The Model”, “Up”, “To Find You”, “Drive It Like You Stole It”, and “Girls”. Β The songs are exuberant. What a delight that the substance of the emotional story, matches the music for sincerity and charm.

Sing Street is the sweet tale of a teen boy (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) in 1980s Dublin who likes a girl (Lucy Boynton) and forms a band just to impress her. The drama and their group, is named after Synge Street, an all-boys Catholic school run by the Christian Brothers that lead vocalist Conor attends. Largely autobiographical, it’s also the same school that director John Carney attended back in the corresponding decade. One day our young hero spies beautiful Raphina standing on the street. He starts a conversation. She seems disinterested. He invites her to be in their music video. She accepts. Just one problem. He doesn’t have a band.

The initial preparations sound like a set-up for failure, but we’re living in the 1980s where a little bit of know-how and a whole lot of confidence is all you need to succeed. Conor, who decides to call himself Cosmo, gradually assembles a rock group selected from his classmates. Truth be told, these kids have a lot of talent. I only wish we got to know their personalities a little better. I have never seen actor Ferdia Walsh-Peelo before, but he is positively winning. Lucy Boynton is Raphina his love interest who stars as the model in their video. Her influence is felt. She introduces the guys to hair gel and eyeliner, styling them in the New Romantic movement of inspirations like Haircut One Hundred and A Flock Of Seagulls. Their look gleefully straddles the line between amateurish and cool.

“The Riddle Of The Model” is the first single of their newly formed band. The accompanying video they shoot is pure joy. Fun and infectious, it’s edited like those primitive MTV videos of the early 1980s. It’s a testament to the quality of the arrangements that the original songs stand up alongside actual 80s hits by Hall & Oates, Duran Duran and The Cure. Their melodic style sort of imitates the new wave/pop hits of the era. They flourish but not without first encountering the requisite challenges that you know they’ll overcome by the time the drama is over. Conor deals with a tough classmate and an even tougher principal. No the narrative isn’t the most innovative thing in the world, but it sure is entertaining. Released in April and steadily expanding into May, this is the kind of little production that can easily get lost in a summer of superheroes, alien attacks and talking fish. Hopefully it will ultimately find a place in the hearts of the masses over the passage of time. It’s among the best movies I’ve seen this year.

04-28-16

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18 Responses to “Sing Street”

  1. smilingldsgirl Says:

    Oh I so agree!! I loved this movie so much. I’m dying to see it again. I think best high school movie since Perks of Being a Wallflower. One thing you didnt mention is I loved the relationship between Connor and his brother Brendon. They had a believable chemistry together and I thought the regret/envy in the brother was really well done. This movie made me so happy and you’re absolutely right about the music. It’s so great!

    • Because of its focus on a music group, Sing Street reminded me of films like The Commitments and We are the Best! Although Perks was my favorite movie of 2012, so it’s in good company.

      Sing Street is steadily expanding to more and more theaters every week. I just hope it doesn’t get lost in the summer blockbuster shuffle. It’s simply too fantastic to be ignored.

  2. smilingldsgirl Says:

    I worry about the same thing. I sort of wish there was an Emma Watson type that might attract people because it is so good. Perks was my favorite of 2012 as well. Such great films.

  3. After so so so many bad films these past few months.. I just couldn’t stop smiling during this one.. simply loved it!!! fun review!!!

    • Thanks Peggy. It’s the kind of summer film that you expect in the fall. It doesn’t get a lot of hype amongst all the blockbusters but it’s a nice surprise when you discover it.

  4. I’ve kept my eye on our indie movie theatres for this one and I finally see it announced starting this Friday. This is a perfectly-timed review and now I’m even more excited to see it.

    • It’s nice to see this is still expanding into more theaters. We’ve had a few indie hits this year (The Witch, Eye in the Sky, Hello, My Name is Doris). I really hope Sing Street becomes one too.

  5. Well that goes for you and me both man, I hope this doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. (And I haven’t seen it yet, but I loved, loved, loved Begin Again. Haven’t yet seen Once, though. But I might have a good idea about what it’s like. πŸ˜‰ ) I hope this plays near us sometime soon. Most theaters right now are half-filled with Captain America and The Huntsman. Ugh.

    • Don’t get me started! Every year I bemoan the ridiculous disparity between the huge number of theaters playing the current mainstream blockbuster and meager list showing the little indie. 4,226 for Captain America: Civil War vs. 153 for Sing Street.

      Even those that want to see the little indie picture often have trouble finding a local theater. I’m lucky to live in an area where everything plays somewhere, but I feel for my fellow cinephiles in less populated areas.

      P.S. It’s been awhile. So good to have you commenting again. Welcome back!

      • Yeah I apologize for that hiatus. πŸ˜‰

        I’ve always been impressed by the sheer number and variety of releases you and Dan from DTMMR (and a couple others that I don’t visit so often) are able to get in in any given period of time. I envy that! I miss having an independent/arthouse theater nearby. So strange, too, given that I live about an hour outside of NYC. You’d think there’d be more outlets locally in northern New Jersey

  6. What a fun movie. The prom fantasy sequence will without a doubt end up on my best scenes of the year list.

  7. Nice work Mark. I’ve gotta check this one out, had a great time with Begin Again and, for once, I actually think the trailer people have done a decent job shilling this.

  8. This was such a good movie. The music was great too. The chemistry between the cast was awesome. So much fun 4 1/2 stars. Favorite of the year, so far.

  9. I missed Sing Street, but it sounds like there is some great music in it based on your Oscar “nominations” and your description of “The Riddle of the Model.” Seems like something I’d totally listen to. Glad to hear that the substance of the story matches the music for sincerity and charm. Sing Street is certainly on my list to see before the end of this year.

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