Hitting all the right notes
SING STREET (M)
Director: John Carney Starring: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy Verdict: Some boys, a girl, a band and a bond
THE point of Sing Street – a funny, engaging and wholly entertaining affair – is that there is only one thing better in this world than being young and about to fall in love.
And that is to be young and about to fall in love twice.
The 15-year-old hero of Sing Street, a Dublin teen named Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), only has eyes for Raphina (Lucy Boynton), an aspiring model who lives in his neighbourhood.
She isn’t returning his gaze as yet, but a boy can dream, right?
Just as importantly, Conor only has ears for music. It is the mid-1980s, and the chance viewing of a music video by Duran Duran inspires Conor to form a band and start writing songs ASAP.
There is no venue to play at, and little chance anyone will hear his tunes, but a boy can keep on dreaming, right?
Too right. And getting it right is something Sing Street excels at throughout.
It might look and feel like just another coming-of-age, finding-oftalent
affair, but there is something a little extra in play here that takes the film well beyond its modest ambitions.
Writer-director John Carney has been expertly fusing music, romance and irresistibly direct storytelling for almost a decade now with films such as Once and Begin Again.
This is undoubtedly his best and most accessible effort to date, thanks primarily to Carney’s canny casting of a bunch of complete unknowns, and the energy and enthusiasm all involved have poured into the production.
Carney’s heartfelt depiction of his Dublin hometown of decades past is equally vital in maintaining Sing Street’s non-stop charm offensive.
Social and economic conditions in the city at the time didn’t exactly make it the easiest place to be growing up. Nevertheless, Conor and his fledgling bandmates push on regardless, determined to craft a repertoire that they say is all about “finding happiness in sadness”.
That they do so by fusing the unrelenting gloom of an act such as The Cure with the incongruous glamour of Spandau Ballet makes Conor’s artistic awakening all the more risky, rebellious and amusing.
Not only is this unpolished gem of a film guaranteed to move you. Just like every favourite song you’ve ever had, it will get you moving as well.