RELEASED: 20th May 2016
DIRECTOR: John Carney
CAST: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kelly Thornton, Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, Percy Chamburuka, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rice, Ian Kenny, Don Wycherley and Lydia McGuinness
BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $13.6m
AWARDS: None (Golden Globe nomination)
Sing Street takes place in Dublin, 1985, where we follow a young boy named Conor Lawlor, who finds out in a family meeting that in order to save money, he is being transferred from his expensive fee-paying school to a Christian Brothers School known as Synge Street. One day at school he notices a girl across the road named Raphina and in order to impress her, states that he needs a model for a music video that his band is making…problem being he doesn’t have a band, yet. From there we follow Conor trying to get a band together while also trying to win Raphina’s affection.
John Carney is a filmmaker and screenwriter that has found his voice in terms of how he wants to tell his stories and if you’ve seen his previous films, especially Once and Begin Again, you know already what to expect from Sing Street, in that in the midst of the drama, there will be music and original songs that will push the story forward and, arguably, Sing Street is his finest film. The film is bursting with absolute charm, from the (majority of the) likeable ensemble, to the soundtrack that’s composed by Gary Clark (formerly of Scottish pop band Danny Wilson), with Carney, Ken and Carl Papenfus of the band Relish, Graham Henderson and Zamo Riffman receiving writing credits. The standout songs for me in particular would be ‘Up’, ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ and ‘Go Now’ and how in the hell the film never received one nomination in this category at the Academy Awards that year still baffles me. The central plot, the romance of will they/won’t they between Conor and Raphina is handled with such care that it becomes the emotional anchor of the film that will have you invested, no thanks in part to the great performances by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Lucy Boynton. There is another sub-plot that bursts through the romance and the band making music, and that’s the brotherhood between Conor and his older brother Brendan. As the relationship between their mother (Penny) and father (Robert) falls apart, it’s their bond that strengthens over the course of the film as Brendan’s happiness is derived of witnessing and mentoring his little brother out a dream that he once craved for himself, hoping that history won’t repeat itself in regards for Conor. Jack Reynor steals the film here as Brendan, as well as having the most comedic moments in his deliveries in the film, he has arguably the best dramatic scene in the film as he states to his brother that he’s taken the path he carved for himself and he’s the kind of brother you hope to have and yet the lost dreamer you don’t want to end up being. The performances from the rest of the ensemble are great, particularly Mark McKenna as multi-instrumentalist Eamon. Sing Street is a wonderful light-hearted drama that packs an emotional punch that will leave you happy-sad at its conclusion.
FAVOURITE SCENE: As the band practices for the ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ music video at the school gym, we get to see the vision that Conor has for it play out, with its 1950s American prom theme, with Raphina showing up, though in reality she never does.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Do you see that guitar? I used to be able to play that guitar well. I used to ride hot girls. I could run 200 meters faster than anybody in my school. You’re the youngest. You get to follow the path that I macheted through the jungle that is our mad family. I was alone with them for six years. You think they’re crazy now? Think about what they were like when they were in their late 20s. Two Catholics in a rented flat with a screaming baby who just got married because they wanted to have sex. They didn’t even love each other. I was in the middle of that, alone! And then you came along, thank God! And you followed the path that I cut for us. Untouched. You just moved in my jet stream. And people laugh at me, Conor. The stoner, the college dropout. And they praise you, which is fine! But once, I was a fucking jet engine!” – Brendan
DID YOU KNOW: Two of the songs on the soundtrack, “Go Now” and “Don’t Go Down”, are written by Glen Hansard, the Dublin native artist who won an Oscar for his song “Falling Slowly”, featured on “Once”, another John Carney film.