By Ryan Keating-Lambert
A wonderful feel good romp, bursting at the seams with nostalgia and classic 80s tunes. It’s Once but with lovable teenage misfits.
Sing Street sees teen Conor Lawley (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) attend a new school in Dublin due to his parent’s money problems. To deal with their inevitable separation and to win over the girl he likes, he forms a band with some of his fellow high-schoolers.
Irish director and writer John Carney has mastered the modern musical with Once and continued with Begin Again. He created the musical that appeals to those who don’t like musicals. The musical for those that would rather go to an open mic night then watch an episode of ‘Talent’.
Sing Street very much continues the trend but turns up the rock and roll element and throws in a bunch of assorted teenagers that you can easily relate to. It’s so well written that it’s impossible not to goof out and grin as the boys’ youth unfolds. It’s also packed with memorable quotes that are sure to end up on some kind of trivia quiz in a pub near you. “You can never do anything by half, you have to dive in,” was probably my favourite by love interest Raphina (Lucy Boynton).
Walsh was the perfect choice for Conor – he’s naive, curious, and you become so attached to him. He suits the rock and roll vibe of the film and will probably end up in similar geeky yet lovable roles in the near future. The relationship Conor has with his brother Brendan (Jack Reynor) is wonderful and must surely resemble something in director John Carney’s past.
The songs are fantastic and vary according to Conor’s ‘studies’. Get ready for some original tracks inspired by the likes of Duran Duran, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, and the Cure. Glen Hansard, of Once Oscar fame, also wrote a couple of tracks. Why didn’t this film get any nominations?
This movie will appeal to many. It’ll appeal to those who dream, to those who rebel, and to those who love music, but most of all it’ll appeal to the Irish. The Irish who grew up in the 80s and felt the need to escape.
Carney and co-writer Simon Carmody have spun the film with references to the difficulties of getting a divorce, the public education system, and the desire to escape across the sea to Britain in search of a new life away from Ireland’s dire economy in the 80s.
This is a nostalgia trip that’s worth taking, and despite being a modern take on the musical with political undertones and endless charm and wit, it wasn’t nominated for any Oscars. La La Land was great, but Sing Street deserves equal attention.
Photo: Film Nation