Sing Street Review

Sing Street (2016) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

Director: John Carney 
Writer: John Carney (screenplay) 
Stars: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy 

Conor Lalor (Walsh-Peelo) and his family live in on the South side of Dublin. Due to finances, Conor is informed that he’s being taken out of his private high school and being transferred to a public school nearby.

In the beginning, life is tough for Conor in his new surroundings as he is hassled by bullies, called names openly in class and harassed by the school’s principal Father Baxter (Wycherley) for wearing brown shoes instead of uniformed black.

His only escape is watching music videos with his older brother Brendan (Reynor).

Things change however with the appearance of the mysterious Raphina (Lucy Boynton) who stands across the road from outside the school. He approaches her and asks her to be in a music video; she agrees.

Now to form a Band………

Conor makes friends with some outcasts from school. Among them is the multi talented musician Eamon (Mark McKenna). It is the moments between these two youngsters that best exemplifies the movie’s central theme. Also they practice at Eamon’s house as his Dad is on tour meaning they have all these instruments lying around at their disposal and this is where the band will develop their sound.

It was at this point Sing Street started to remind me of another movie I had viewed a decade ago. The pacing and the style of this movie had a familiar theme to it (apart from the obvious, that it is music based). I realised that it reminded me of the film “Once” also set in Dublin. The Reason it felt familiar? John Carney also directed the 2007 film also.

The young cast impressed me with their great energy and that sharp Irish wit that reminded me of listening to the studio outtakes of the Beatles from their Anthology project throwing banter and jokes at each other.

Walsh-Peelo and Boynton deliver some touching and impressive performances and Mark McKenna particularly worthy of note also with his unhealthy obsession with Rabbits(?)

Jack Raynor (who was shortlisted for the role of the young Han Solo at one point). Plays Conor’s older and wiser brother, his frustration at his role in life to pave the way for his younger sibling boils over in a rant that is emotional and Raynor deserves credit for this performance.

I’d also like to commend the film makers choice of soundtrack throughout the movie.

It really gives you a sense of the 80’s (if you weren’t around then) and also guides and molds Sing Street (The Band) into the band they become.

The film is a little rough at the edges and how the band just click musically is a little far fetched but you can’t take away the charm, wit and sentiment away from Sing Street and if you haven’t watched this yet I would highly recommend it.

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