Sing Street is a delightful and charming Irish film. John Carney’s eighth feature film succeeds in containing all the best aspects of a teen movie whilst discarding all the over the top scenes that make American productions so tacky.
It tells the story of 15-year-old Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), a brave Dubliner with broke, dysfunctional parents, an evil headmaster and a college drop-out brother whom he worships. Due to his family’s financial situation he changes to a very catholic, rough, all boys school. Just as he’s losing hope he meets soon to be model Raphina (Lucy Boynton). As an excuse to talk to her, he asks her to star in a music video for his non-existent band. Once she agrees, he’s forced to make his musical claims a reality.
It is really the small details of the film that make it so enjoyable rather than the main plot and romance. It would be nothing without the smaller parts, such as the bass and keyboard players and the down to earth portrayal of what it’s actually like to be a teenager (i.e terrible outfits and make-up, underage drinking and “deep” conversations). Sing Street also deals with very intense and unpleasant topics, including Ireland’s archaic divorce laws and poor economic situation, strict Catholicism, mental illness, alcoholism, racism and the difficulty in defying expectations and finding one’s identity. It does this realistically and whilst it should have brought down the tone of the film, it merely balanced out and complimented the cheesy moments causing viewers to cherish them rather than cringe.
If the plot still does not seem that appealing, the soundtrack of the film is enjoyable enough by itself. Though by being set in the 80s it requires some essentials from Duran Duran, The Cure and The Clash and the original tracks “written by the band” are catchy and sweet. Even if 80s music makes your skin crawl, it is guaranteed to make you foot tap.
If you combined School of Rock, Almost Famous and 10 Things I Hate About You and set it in 80s Dublin, Sing Street is what the final result would look like.
[Yasmina Todd – @yasytodd]