Possible spoilers ahead!
“Sing Street” tells the story of a 14-year-old boy named Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who is looking for a break from a home strained by his parents’ relationship and money troubles. He’s also trying to adjust to his new public school where the kids are rough and the teaching priests are rougher.
Conor finds a glimmer of hope when he meets the mysterious, cool and beautiful Raphina (Lucy Boynton), and with the aim of winning her heart he invites her to star in his band’s music video. There’s only one problem: he’s not part of a band…yet.
Shockingly (to him at least), Raphina agrees to star in the music video for a song Conor hasn’t written, for a band that doesn’t exist. And with that, “Sing Street” is off to the races.
“Sing Street” takes place in 1985 Dublin, a time when prospects for Irish kids were bleak. In the opening sequences, many Irish youngsters are shown emigrating to London, seeking work and a better future. That may seem like an odd place for this movie to start, but knowing the situation is essential for a movie like “Sing Street” to work.
Writer/director John Carney, who directed the award-winning Irish musical “Once,” returns to familiar territory with “Sing Street.” The film is peppered with original musical numbers, and popular music of the era. But “Sing Street” also has a lot of heart, and it shows the emotions that great music can unleash in people.
However, where “Sing Street” succeeds the most is by making its main character, Conor (played by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), a real kid. He has bullies, he got problems at home, and yeah, he’s got a crush on a girl who is way out of his league. But Conor also has dreams, and this movie takes them very seriously. In fact, the film believes in the dreams of every character, even minor ones.
Conor’s siblings also try to escape from the household tension in their own ways. Older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor, a scene stealer) holes up in his room smoking weed and listening to his impressive record collection. Brendan had dreams of his own once, but he now sees it as is self-appointed role in life is to teach his little brother the ropes. Meanwhile, Conor’s older sister Ann (Kelly Thornton) devotes herself to her studies.
The “Sing Street” supporting cast is superb, every single one is perfectly cast. Raphina is played by the terrific Lucy Boynton, a 17-year-old eager to make it as a model in London. Yeah she’s cute, hot actually, but what I liked best about her was how she believed in Conor and always encouraged him.
Then there’s Darren (Ben Carolan), a school friend and budding video director. Darren even agrees to manage the outfit and introduces Conor to multi-instrumentalist Eamon (Mark McKenna), and keyboardist Ngig (Percy Chamburuka).But the truest and most heart felt relationship in the film is that between Conor and his long-haired college-dropout brother, played by likeable Jack Reynor.
“Sing Street” is a love story, but not in the typical way. There are many different types of love stories here. There’s still the boy-meets-girl drama of course, but there’s also the love of music, and family. “Sing Street” is often hilarious in a dark but honest sort of way. it’s also so full of heart that by the time the movie ends, you’ve not only seen a film where dreams really do come true, but one where escape is possible if you’re bold enough to take a chance.
John Carney has created an extremely personal film with wonderful music and exceptional performances. Whether you gre up in the 1980’s or not, everyone can relate to these characters because we all had that moment of desperation when we were teenagers.
“Sing Street” score: A+