Sing Street

Sing Street

(2016)

Boy meets girl, girl unimpressed, boy starts band.

Coming-of-age sort-of-musical from the director of Once about a 14-year-old lad who tells a girl he's crushing on that he's in a band. The only problem? He's not actually in a band. The only solution? Start a band.

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Flicks Review

The wish-fulfilment film is one of the trickier genres to grasp. Make the reality too tough and the wish won't take flight; but make the fulfilment part too easy and it just looks like lies. Master of the bitter-sweet musical, having made the glorious Once and the surprisingly non-shit Begin Again, Irish writer/director John Carney gets the balance 90% right with this sparky teen romance, set in dreary 1980s Dublin.... More

With his parents' marriage groaning apart, poor Cosmo (the winning Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is forced to downgrade to the awful Synge Street Christian Brothers School, where he faces all sorts of daily indignities. Encouraged by older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor), not to mention a massive crush on local beauty Raphina (Lucy Boynton, who isn't actually Irish, although you'd never guess it), Cosmo forms the eponymous band and things start to look irrepressibly up.

If there were an Oscar – no, scratch that, a Lifetime Achievement Award – for capturing the alchemy of composing songs on screen, it could only go to Carney. Sing Street's self-penned numbers such as Riddle Of The Model and Drive It Like You Stole It are spot-on pastiches of 1980s pop posturers Duran Duran and The Cure, played just badly enough to convince. And the central romance perfectly captures young love's awkward ardour. Frankly, it's so well done that when, in the last act, Cosmo's wish fulfilment breaks the ceiling of all believability, the chances are you'll be too charmed to care.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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BY cinemusefilm superstar

For many people, garage bands are synonymous with adolescence and its associated yearnings for identity, independence and fun. The Irish-produced Sing Street (2016) steps into this space with a more complex mixture of ingredients than is usual for such films. Described as a musical comedy, it is also a coming-of-age romance and a period film set against themes of economic recession, family discord and school bullying. Director/writer John Carney prefers to call it a 'stealth musical': one that... More sneaks up on audiences who otherwise might not choose to see a traditional musical. Whatever you call it, this in one of the most engaging and enjoyable films of the year so far.

Set in Dublin during the 1980s, this simple story is told through the eyes of 15 year-old Conor whose quarrelling cash-strapped parents move him from an expensive private school to a local parish school. It is a cultural shock and violence from schoolyard thugs and priests are standard fare for a community where drugs, alcohol and beatings are commonplace. He meets alluring but unattainable 16 year-old Raphina who has left school to become a London model and asks her to join his band (which does not exist). The rest of the film traces the formation of his band called Sing Street and its growth from hopeless wannabes to a credible group of musicians. Unlike traditional musicals where dialogue slips into song at the slightest provocation, the music works naturally both in and for the film to underscore the humour and pathos of growing up. The first-time romance runs parallel to the evolving music while Conor's maturing outlook on life helps him rise above the limited opportunities that Dublin offers.

Sing Street has no pretensions to originality and it relies entirely on genre-familiar ingredients. But it soars well above its class because of outstanding casting and a brilliant soundtrack. Conor and Raphina are immensely attractive and likable personalities and their remarkable acting range lets them glide effortlessly from precocious youth through adolescent angst to unrestrained exuberance. They are the soul of the film and become as one with its music. The toe-tapping soundtrack includes Duran Duran, Joe Jackson, Hall & Oates, The Jam, The Cure, as well as performances by the Sing Street Band and others, making this is a joyful upbeat film that expresses youth's unshakeable faith in the power of music. This is a great little gem from The Emerald Isle.Hide


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The Press Reviews

97% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The most romantic movie you'll find anywhere these days, brimming over with music, fun and the thrill of first love. Full Review

  • Just as with "Once" and "Begin Again," Sing Street will make you laugh, cry and leave you humming its songs for days. Full Review

  • Did you like The Commitments? Did you like We Are the Best!!? Well, Sing Street isn’t as good as either of those two, but it’s still pretty terrific. Full Review

  • Like an updated The Commitments in rouge (liberally applied), Sing Street nails the details. Full Review

  • The truest and most tearduct-tugging relationship here is that between Conor and his lank-haired college-dropout brother... Full Review

  • The young nonprofessional actors are a fresh, natural bunch, even if the bandmembers might have benefited from more individual character development. Full Review

  • A sweetly funny, charming and poignant depiction of this very specific time in life - at once universal and specific - when anything seems possible. And with killer pop tunes to boot. Full Review

  • The movie understands how enchantment and disappointment go together, like the A and B sides of a single that won't leave the turntable. Full Review

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