Directed by John Carney
Country: Ireland / UK / USA
Dedicated to brothers everywhere, “Sing Street” is an Irish comedy-drama, directed by John Carney (“Once”, “Begin Again”), which straddles the line between homage and romance. If he did great in regard to the former, a wonderful tribute to the pop-rock scene of the 80’s, he stepped into crowd-pleasing territory in the latter.
Nevertheless, he comfortably shapes compelling characters and give them appropriate dimension by placing them amidst realistic situations that combine daily life problems, relationships, and talents. Then, and in a smart way, all these aspects are even more enhanced through the addition of appealing pop-rock original songs that are played by one or more personas.
“Sing Street” employs this formula and goes even a little bit further by addressing themes such as family and school bullying.
The film, set in Dublin in 1985, opens by giving a perspective of the tense atmosphere lived at the Lalor’s. The catholic family is having some troubles in living peacefully together because the patriarch, Robert (Aidan Gillen), a broke architect, seems unsatisfied with his life while his wife, Penny (Maria Doyle Kennedy), is having an affair. They have three children: Anne, who doesn’t have great expression in the story, Brendan (Jack Reynor), a depressed loser who doesn’t know what to do with his life, and the sensitive Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), who at the age of 15 resolves to form a pop-rock band after meeting the beautiful Raphina (Lucy Boynton) whose dream is to become a model.
Enthusiastically, Conor, the vocalist, and his new friend Darren (Ben Carolan), the producer, make an important acquisition for the band: the multi-instrumentalist Eamon (Mark McKenna), who becomes his right hand in the composition process. The other three members arrive naturally, and they both agree on the name Sing Street for the band. Influenced by Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Spandau Ballet, The Cure, and many more, they record a first song entitled ‘The Riddle of the Model’, obviously inspired on Raphina who agrees to participate in the music video.
Despite having a cool dude as a boyfriend, Raphina becomes closer to Conor, giving him hope by responding affectively to his passionate impulses.
In the meantime, and besides the amorous frustrations, the brave Conor tries to find non-violent ways to deal with the frequent intimidations he’s been suffering at the new school. The villains are Barry (Ian Kenny), a troublesome boy, and Brother Baxter (Don Wycherley), the ridiculous school principal.
Carrying a strong, positive message, the film, so wonderfully captivating at times, ends up disappointing heavily in its finale.
The talented Mr. Carney blurs the painting with the ultimate stroke. An unlikely conclusion that was more impetuous and strategic than genius.