REVIEW: Sing Street (2016)

Film Poster - The Weinstein Company
Film Poster – The Weinstein Company

The following is a review of John Carney’s Sing Street.

Sing Street did not get a theatrical release in Denmark, as far as I am aware. So, back when every reviewer was talking about how great Sing Street was, I found out that I had to wait for the Blu-Ray release. I had only heard great things about the film, so I was really interested in it.

Sing Street was never on my list of most anticipated films of the year – even though I really enjoyed John Carney’s last film (Begin Again) – but when people were praising this film as one of the most enjoyable movie experiences of the year, I started to worry that maybe I would be let down when I finally got to see it. Well, now I’ve seen it, and it turns out that it is better than I thought it would be. Sing Street is a wonderful film.

Sing Street is a musical coming-of-age story set in 1985 Dublin, which tells a story about a teenage boy, Conor (played by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), who has a crush on an aspiring model, Raphina (Lucy Boynton). To get her attention, he starts a band with a few friends from school, and soon falls in love with not just the woman, but also the music that his older brother, Brendan (played by Jack Reynor), introduces him to.

I, honestly, can’t wait to see this film again! It is so charming, it feels very romantic, but, most of all, it is just so wonderfully life-affirming! I quickly settled into the story, and once Conor has his band and the music hits for the first time I was just smiling from ear to ear.

Most of the starring actors and actresses are pretty unknown, and two of the most well-known in the film – Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy – don’t get a lot to do. But the newcomers are really fun to watch. Walsh-Peelo is a solid protagonist, and his relationship with Eamon (played by Mark McKenna) was great.

But Jack Reynor gives the best performance in this film. Brendan, Conor’s brother, still lives at home, barely goes outside, and is a stoner with an excellent taste in music. It is a type of role that actors like Jack Black and Seth Rogen have been known to play, but Reynor stands out when the film focuses on his relationship with Conor. Indeed, that relationship is one of the biggest reasons why I enjoyed this film so much.

You obviously expect the soundtrack in a musical to be pretty solid, but I have to admit that I was blown away by the original songs. They use songs from bands like Duran Duran, The Cure, and Hall & Oates really well to signify a change in Conor and Raphina’s relationship, but it is even more wonderful when the band-members in the film get to really show off their talents with original songs.

And sure, there are a lot of unrealistic things about how great the band is, and how clean they sound. But this film definitely isn’t going for realism, it does look ‘too romantically’ at the characters and the story to really tell Sing Street realistically. But that won’t bother you, because it is just such a heartwarming experience.

I really loved Sing Street. And look, it’s not like this film is original at all. You’ve seen stories like this one before, and Carney ‘borrows’ a lot of scenes from his other films. But Sing Street is like a light but powerful pop song that you can’t stop dancing to. A familiar, but refreshing, and cheerful film that you have to see.

9.5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex