Feeling properly 80’s, this Irish comedy/drama is layered with perfect music and a story full of smiles, heart and feel good nostalgia. Hey, I’m not even an 80’s kid, but I know of the songs and styles from that decade and this film pulls off that aura with ease and brilliance.
Due to money problems at home, music fan Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is moved to a free state school. He sees a girl outside one day and talks to Raphina (Lucy Boynton), inviting her to star in his band’s video. Now all he has to do is actually start up a band and write some songs, leading him on a discovery of love, art and lyrics.
John Carney who brought us one of my favourite films to chill out to – ‘Once’ is back with his musical presence and realistic writing for this special movie. He writes a fantastically immersive story that throws us into the life and times of 1985 and the way this band comes across looks and sounds like they’re a bona fide group of that era. Carney directs the film in a way that fills the narrative and us watching with great optimism. It’s a passionate and cheerful feature that may be simple in places but is dealt with so enjoyably that I don’t care.
Amongst the amazing sounds of the 1980’s, including Duran Duran and The Cure to mention just a couple, there’s a magnificent composition of tracks from Gary Clark, along with Carney he truly captures the beats of familiar artists from the time and transfers them into funny yet authentic sounding tunes for the teen filled Sing Street band to perform. If none of the original songs from this movie get an Oscar nomination then justice doesn’t exist because they deserve recognition and I think ‘Go Now’ may be the one to win it because of Adam Levine’s influence. It’s not just the music that makes you tap your feet and hum a rhythm, the way each band’s music video is seen is so on point and the changing fashions of Conor as he enters school is excellent.
An awful lot in this movie makes you smile and laugh, enough to do so out loud even as I did, more than once. It isn’t just a well handled musical comedy though, the amount of tingling heart and coming of age drama involved makes it even more appealing. As we go over the much beaten track of young love and possible heartbreak, this film deals with it in an irresistible way or perhaps in a zany new romantic way to fit the tone of the movie and make you almost forget that you’ve seen these types of films before.
Walsh-Peelo makes a stunning acting debut, his look fits the 80’s mould just right and he’s both likable and emotive ensuring we want to stay following his passage of growth, like a musical Ferris Bueller he’s captivating and bliss to watch. Boynton is gorgeous, mysterious and confident in a role that delves just a sliver into a dark past that makes her more than just eye candy and subject material for a male band to write about. Jack Reynor as Conor’s brother is a funny watch but he’s damaged, knowledgeable of music but feeling trapped by his older age and lack of trying he gets plenty of time to shine and a heroic burst of pride at the end. All the Sing Street band members are acted greatly too, bringing fun characteristics to the piece.
My heart is warmed to the top after watching this film, which is now one of my favourites. Truly I mean that, this is a musical triumph that’s filled with genuine joy and bitter-sweet drama that I want to see all over again. And again.