Review of John Carney’s newest musical film “Sing Street”
By Carter Bagley
In a summer full of big cinematic disappointments, the film that impacted me the most is a small film from Sundance called “Sing Street”. Writer and Director John Carney (Once, Begin Again) returns again to the music-themed drama he is so good at. His 2006 film “Once” is the one that really brought him acclaim and recognition to most people with his unique take on a modern day musical and his low budget directing style and he mirrored that again with his star-studded 2014 film “Begin Again” which was also based around music and told a very human story with great performances by Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, and Hailee Steinfeld; and his newest film is no different. Instead of going bigger which he easily could’ve done he returned to his home city of Dublin, Ireland to tell a truly inspiring, funny, and fresh coming-of-age film that I can say right now, should go down as one of the best. The film takes place in 1985 and centers around Conor Lalor, a teenage boy whose family is poor and not getting along, so as a result he’s forced to move to a new school called Synge Street CBS. After meeting a new friend he meets a mysterious teenage model that inspires him to start a rock band to impress her. Although the plot seems simple enough, the film has expertly written characters and enough truly funny moments to make someone fall head over heels for this film. A breakout performance by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo who does an amazing job as the young main star Conor and also Lucy Boynton who stars as the young aspiring model Raphina. Newcomers Ben Carolan and Mark McKenna also bring endless amounts of charm to their characters as they help Conor find his way through his newfound passion of a band inspired by 80’s groups like The Cure and Duran Duran. This is also one of the first times Jack Reynor has got to show off his acting chops and he does exactly that as Conor’s uninspired older brother Brendan. For a film that if put in another filmmaker’s hands could’ve been a throwaway feel good movie, John Carney turns “Sing Street” into a beautiful tale about first love, growing up, and discovering who you are and what you love to do. It tackles serious topics about life and regret very subtly without preaching it to the audience, which is something I appreciate immensely. With an amazing soundtrack, genuine performances, spot on writing and loaded with inspiring moments “Sing Street” is a film that should be seen by anyone who’s a fan of coming-of-age tales, rock music, love stories, and can relate to a story about brotherhood, friendship, love and what it means to find what you truly love to do.