Ireland, the 1980’s, boy starts a high school rock band to try and get girl. Why would a middle American raised man in his forties care for a movie like this? It’s all about heart.
Sing Street, directed by John Carney (Once, Begin Again) and starring Lucy Boyton (Raphina), Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (Conor) and Jack Reynor (Brendan) is the story of a boy trying to impress a girl so he starts a band. There would seem to be many troupes here but Sing Street sails above them all. Sing Street is first and foremost a movie about brothers Conor and Brendan are growing up in Ireland in the 1980’s during the economic depression. Conor has flunked out of college and spends most of his time in his room smoking weed and listening to his rather large vinyl record collection. Brendan has been pulled from a swanky private school and put into Synge Street public school which is run by the church and is more like a maximum security prison than a High School. After seeing a girl across the street (Raphina) and trying to impress her Conor tells her he is in a band and needs her to be in one of their music videos. He then proceeds to talk his buddies into forming one.
This movie works for me on so many levels. First the acting performances are so full of truth and authenticity that you feel like you have been transported back to the 1980’s where MTV was the cool thing and music videos reigned the airwaves. Reynor’s performance as the older brother (Brendan) is so refreshing because he doesn’t fall too far into the stoner stereotypes and for that matter none of the other actors do either with their characters. The tension in Raphina and Conor’s relationship is played perfectly with it never falling into teenage angst. Conor and Brendan might just be the most honest brothers relationship I have seen on film.
The musical performances are spot on and if you are like me and grew up in the 80’s then you will appreciate the throw back sound and music video feel. The highlight of the film to me was the ending which I won’t spoil here, but left you to imagine for yourself how this story would end and left me singing the movies praise!
FOUR treble clefts out of five for SING STREET.
Streaming now on Netflix.