STARRING: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kelly Thornton, Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, Percy Chamburuka, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rice, Ian Kenny, Don Wycherley and Lydia McGuinness
A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980’s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.
Sing Street takes us to Dublin in 1985 where we follow a young boy named Conor, who finds out in a family meeting that in order to save money his is being transferred from his expensive fee-paying school to a free state-school called Synge Street, a Christian Brothers School. One day at school he notices a girl across the road named Raphina and in order to impress her, states that he needs a model for a music video that his band is making. We follow Conor trying to get a band together while also trying to win Raphina’s affection.
While John Carney has been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons for criticising Keira Knightley during their work together in Begin Again, word of his latest film Sing Street has been receiving praise from film viewers around globe. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually sat down and watched a John Carney film (Once when that was released back in 2007), if Carney could spend the rest of his filmmaking career focusing on telling stories about musicians I would happily sit down and watch them as Sing Street is definitely my favourite film of the year so far.
Sing Street is a film that’s dripping with charm, likeable characters and, more importantly, a great/catchy soundtrack to entertain you throughout the films runtime. The romantic plot of Conor/Cosmo and Raphina is handled with care and I bought into it and the performances from Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Lucy Boynton are great. While the film has the romantic plot, this film also has a plot of brotherhood that bursts through the silence of the musical numbers and the romantic journey. Some critics may have mercilessly been unforgiving with their criticism of Jack Reynor’s performance in Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction a few years ago, but he’s quietly been putting out solid performances in Glassland and Macbeth. Here, Reynor probably gives his best performance to date as Conor’s older brother Brendan. He’s arc of being a first-born whose happiness is derived from witnessing his little brother living out a dream that he once craved for himself, hoping that his lost dream won’t repeat on Conor, which comes to a head during a heated scene of him telling his younger brother that he was once ‘A fucking jet engine’. Essentially Brendan is the brother you hope to have and yet the lost dreamer you don’t want to end up being. Another highlight of a performance is Mark McKenna’s Eamon, a multi-instrumentalist who helps Conor write songs and brings some laughs due to his deadpan delivery in certain scenes. One standout sequence in the film is how Conor sees the music video for ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ play out that I’m sure you can find on YouTube but it works so much more effectively in the film.
In terms of nitpicking the film, I hoped to learn more of the other band members after their introductions, but they become sidelined during the romance/brother plot only to resurface for the musical numbers…which isn’t that much of a bad thing. The film for some may actually come across as too…..cutesy clever for its own good but again…nitpicking.
Sing Street is a film that has loads of charm, great musical numbers and likeable performances from leads Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Lucy Boynton, with a very impressive supporting performance from Jack Reynor that actually stole the show for me. John Carney knows what formula works best for him and I’m interested to go back through his previous work and see what he comes out with next. 9/10