I’m going to be singing “The Riddle of the Model” for a long time.
Sing Street stars Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton (Ballet Shoes, The Blackcoat’s Daughter), Jack Reynor (Glassland, Macbeth), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire) and is written and directed by John Carney (Once, Begin Again).
In 1980s Dublin, Conor (Walsh-Peelo) is moved to a rough Catholic School, he discovers his only way to survive is to start a band. With the help of his friends, brother and the music of the 80s, he plays to win the heart of a mysterious girl..
As a huge fan of John Carney, I was so excited to see Sing Street and it didn’t disappoint. Everything you love from his previous films is brought over to this one and expanded upon. For me this has been the feel good film of the summer and yet again Carney has made an amazing film, which may be my favorite of his work.
This film relies heavily on music and along with an awesome 80s soundtrack, the original music created by the band is great. As someone part of a younger generation, I didn’t live through the 80s but I’m very familiar with a lot of the music from that era and in Sing Street Carney created songs that could have fit seamlessly with anything performed by Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet. He captured what I can only imagine, it was like being a teenage musician in the 80s and the influences you would have took in. Carney was a musician in Dublin when he was younger, so it was probably easy to create that vibe but the biographical nature of the film, made it really engaging to view.
The lead performance from the debuting Ferdia Walsh-Peelo was excellent. I’ve seen live performances from him, so I would assume he recorded all the songs for the film but on top of his musical talent, he’s a really strong actor. During the film his fashion sense changes as he becomes inspired by different artists and Peelo sold each version of himself perfectly. Although none of the clothes he wears, I would wear in 2016, he made them cool because he truly immersed himself into these characters and ideas. The other band members were solid, Peelo had great chemistry with the female lead, Lucy Boynton but the other standout for me was Jack Reynor.
Reynor I believe, was one of the actor rumored to play the young Han Solo and although I find it hard to see anyone else in that role, I can understand why Disney were looking at him. He plays Peelo’s older brother who helps guide him through his musical journey and teaches him important lessons of song writing. Their brotherly relationship, even more than the romantic relationship, was what drove the emotion in this story and was ultimately what I cared about at the end. Carney also has a brother and the siblings in Sing Street most likely follow the biographical feel, of the music influences. Before the credits role, “For brothers everywhere” appears on the screen and for me that was what Sing Street was all about. Its has the fantasy romance, the catchy songs, the whimsical coming of age story but it’s really about the bond between two brothers.
Speaking of fantasy romance, all of Carney’s films have a very magical overtone to them. Like in his previous film Begin Again, the music is recorded on little to no equipment, in living rooms or on the street, yet it still sounds like it’s been professionally recorded. This isn’t lazy writing by Carney or him expecting the audience to just go along with the ride, the story is told through the eyes of a teenager (probably a representation of a young Carney himself) and with that you hear how the band imagines they sound like. There’s even a fantastic sequence, where Conor fantasies about how his band looks and sounds whilst playing, when actually the reality is something different. The fantastical elements do also help wrap the audience up in the wonderful story but there’s more to them than just that.
My final point on this film is, it’s just happy. Sing Street isn’t all sunshine and rainbows but the message and overall tone is so uplifting and put a huge smile on my face. This is going to be one of my films that whenever I’m in a bad mood, I can put this on and enjoy myself every time. The only downside is now I really want to be in a band but I have zero musical talents!
I absolutely loved this film and it’s my favorite of the year so far, have you seen Sing Street and what did you think of it?