Director: John Carney
Run Time: 1h 46m
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. And Drive It Like You Stole It!
Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) has a facade of a happy home life. When his parents hit a rough patch in both their marriage and their finances, they send Conor to Synge Street Christian Brothers School. There he meets more adversity, but also opportunity. With the help of self-proclaimed teenage businessman Darren (Ben Carolan), Conor forms a band to impress a girl. Not just any girl. A model named Raphina (Lucy Boynton). She lives across the street from the boys’ school and is recruited to star in all of the band’s music videos. Brendan (Jack Reynor), Conor’s older brother, is his Rock & Roll Guru. Brendan is a stoner and college dropout who spends his time doing absolutely nothing, but he is wise in all things music. Conor navigates his way through what could be the worst days of his life but instead finds something to escape to. Something to live for.
Sing Street is a glorious little film and I am lucky to have experienced it. The few complaints I have I am actually not going to talk about here. If you get the opportunity to see this movie I want you to focus on the experience and the music and the message. Nothing else. Because allowing yourself to be enchanted by this film will give you hope and feels that you may have forgotten you had.
The boys who play the band members are musicians first and actors second. Most have never acted before Sing Street but I promise you won’t be able to tell. Ferdia is amazing. Ben is hilarious. And the dynamic between everyone is so intoxicating you can’t help but smile. Whether John Carney lucked out and had his principal cast become fast friends, or he has magic up his sleeve that he found a group of unknowns to make sweet music together… it works. So, so well.
I called John Carney a modern musical master in my Instagram post recenly. Once again, he proves me right. I’ve seen his other films Once, and Begin Again. His films rely heavily on music to to propel the plot but not in a traditional sense. It’s not like Conor breaks out into song to tell his brother about his day. Instead, the music is an extension of the story. Conor’s songs do deal with his circumstances — mostly as they relate to Raphina — but they are a separate thing from the dialogue. Sing Street really is a band and they really do make music videos. Not only that but the songs are amazing. John Carney wrote the movie and the original songs! Are they good? Well, I immediately purchased the soundtrack when I got home and have been playing it repeatedly since. So, yes.
Second only to the music was the message. Life sucks. Be it home life, parents, school, authority, love… But you have a choice. You can choose what makes you sad enough to hold you back. And you can choose what makes you happy and free. Most believe that the power of destiny and dreams is simply a myth but maybe those people just gave up too soon. Watching Conor consistently rise above what people expected of him, and step outside the box they tried to put him in, was inspiring. He focused his energy on proving people wrong. While dreams (in this case, music) can’t save everyone or everything, and make everything as magical as a music video, they can save you.
One last thing. I really wish I was in a band. And I really wish I had an Irish accent.
Sing Street is a film to watch if you want to feel good and be inspired. That’s all this movie is asking of you: be inspired. I feel like it’s your duty to try. Let it. Watch it!
There was another 15-year old kid who had an older sibling kind enough to introduce him to rock. He spent some time surrounded by rock stars, immersed in their world. His name was William Miller (Patrick Fugit), and for a few weeks in 1974… he was Almost Famous.