In one of many great exchanges between Brendan (Jack Reynor) and Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) in Sing Street, older brother Brendan proclaims, “Rock n Roll is a risk. You risk being ridiculed.” That may be true, but you’ll take zero risk treating yourself to this wonderful film.
Set in mid 1980’s Dublin, Sing Street is the story of Conor who, in an effort to win the affections of the fair Raphina, played by the captivating Lucy Boynton, cobbles together a band. The awkward conversations between the two will remind you of every adolescent love you ever had. It may not be the most original story, but director John Carney’s (Begin Again, Once) execution hearkens back to the 80’s movies I grew up watching.
The story is set in motion when Lalor family patriarch Robert (Aiden Gillen of The Dark Knight Rises and Game of Thrones) – in the face of financial struggles – announces Conor will be transferring from his current and expensive school to a free school run by Jesuit priests. Conor finds himself caught in the crosshairs between the headmaster, Brother Baxter (Don Wycherley) and resident bully Barry (Ian Kenny).
His oasis is found in the girls home across the street when Raphina, one of its residents, catches his eye. He approaches her to ask if she’d like to be featured in the video of his band, which we find out hasn’t been formed yet. From this point, every young musician who has ever made the effort to be in a band will identify with and chuckle at the journey they begin to be the next big thing in their town. With nods to the early days of MTV when the channel was actually Music Television, 80s fashion, and even a reference to Back to the Future, what follows is a heart-warming story of what it means to be young, insecure, and pursuing your dreams.
Jack Reynor’s performance as older brother Brendan is my favorite. He guides and mentors his younger sibling out of his own mistakes and lost dreams. The conversations between him and Conor make for some of the most memorable and touching moments of the entire film and make sense of the film’s closing titles dedication “For brothers everywhere.”
Rounded out by a great soundtrack with 80s stalwarts like Duran Duran, Hall & Oates, The Jam, The Cure, and Joe Jackson, as well as original songs written by director Carney and Gary Clark and performed by the actors, the film comes to a predictable but satisfying ending that reminds you why 80’s music and pop culture were so great.
This will definitely be one to watch again and again.
Sing Street is rated PG-13 for thematic elements including strong language and some bullying behavior, a suggestive image, drug material, and teen smoking.
Directed and written by John Carney, the film currently holds a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Original soundtrack available on iTunes.