Irish writer/film director John Carney is back at it with an added dose of 1980s childhood nostalgia in “Sing Street,” where the teens were a moody and pop-loving youth. Around the edges of the story, there is an obscurity of real trouble: alcoholism, domestic and sexual abuse, stalled careers and broken marriages.
Set in 1980s Dublin, 14-year-old Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is looking for a break from a home strained by his parents’ relationship and money troubles. As many children are at his age, Conor has to deal with school troubles as well as the family disputes. He is trying to adjust to his new inner-city public school where the kids are rough and the teachers are rougher. Such trouble inspires Conor’s fantasy of escape, and also the escapism of “Sing Street” itself in a recognizable reality.
His glimmer of hope may have appeared in the form of the mysterious, über-cool and beautiful Raphina (Lucy Boynton). Raphina says she’s a model, and prepping a move from Dublin to London.
The young hero Conor (later Cosmo, once he gets his synth-friendly makeup,) is star-struck by Raphina’s beauty. In attempt to win her heart, Conor asks her to be in his music video similar to Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’ and, after some persuading, she agrees. The only problem is that he doesn’t have a band yet…
Conor is a recognisable protagonist; someone eager to escape their circumstances who finds a release in music. Immersing himself in the vibrant rock music trends of the decade, he forms a band with his elder brother and a few lads. Conor blossoms from a timid kid to a cool teen with just the power of three chords.
The fun of Sing Street, is that it allows the audience to remember the romanticized memories of the 1980’s and double as a musical history lesson as it is set during the big boom period of U.K rock. Conor true to his rapid and evolving feelings, keeps passing from one phase to another; his band transforming from a Duran Duran clone to a wannabe The Cure.
After a few months of writing songs and shooting music videos, the band – christened Sing Street after their school – starts to look towards their future, whilst Conor is drawn closer and closer to Raphina.
The band of kids deliver some songs that you won’t be able to get out of your head. They sound right at home in the 1980s, to the point that you would think they came straight from the decade.
This film is truly a triumph, and as far as the sound track goes, the songs could become big hits! Sing Street is undoubtedly a crowd-pleaser, and another fine example in cinema of music saving someone’s life.
Watch the trailer now …