TV3’s movie expert Kate Rodger tunes in to some nostalgia from the 1980s.
STARRING FERDIA WALSH-PEELO, LUCY BOYNTON AND JACK REYNOR. DIRECTED BY JOHN CARNEY.
Irish filmmaker John Carney won our hearts in 2007 with his gorgeous little love story Once, a film he shot over a few weeks on a couple of camcorders on the streets of Dublin. The film also won an Oscar for Best Original Song (for the film’s gentle anthem Falling Slowly) and kick-started Carney’s film-making career. He returned to his musical roots last year with the New York-based Begin Again, and now he’s back on home turf with Sing Street.
Anyone with even the vaguest memories of the 1980s will find joy here, but if you were a teenager then, there are moments when you may feel transported by timemachine to your youth, a time-machine blaring out Duran Duran, The Cure and Hall & Oates from the tape recorder. With more stone-washed denim, big hair and blue eyeshadow than should be legally permitted on the big screen, Sing Street is at once an ode to the 80s. But fear not, this is so much more than just nostalgic fancy-dress to music. Sing Street is a love story. It’s first love and brotherly love bound together with the music they love, entirely lacking in pretension and a delight to watch.
Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is an awkward teenager who moves schools as his parents’ marriage disintegrates around him. He immediately attracts the attention of the school bully, the school headmaster and the school nerd. He offsets that trifecta of trouble by attracting the attention of the beautiful girl who lives across the road. When Raphina (Lucy Boynton) tells him she’s a model, he immediately invites her to be in the music video he’s making with his band. Which of course means he must immediately form a band. This mission is fraught from the get-go. He has no friends, he doesn’t play any instruments, and he doesn’t know what kind of music he likes.
But Conor is in love, and it’s amazing what you can overcome when you’re in love. With help from his pot-head older brother Brendan, Conor morphs into Cosmo, embracing every 80s genre from pop to rock to goth to new-wave, each leading to a new sound, new haircuts and new outfits.
Mostly populated by newcomers, rising Irish star Jack Reynor ( Transformers: Age of Extinction/A Royal Night Out), Maria Doyle Kennedy ( The Commitments/Jupiter Ascending) and Aiden Gillen ( The Dark Knight Rises/Game of Thrones) are the recognisable faces here, but the film belongs firmly to Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, with his merry band of misfits ably in support.
At one point the older brother wisely intones to his love-sick sibling: “No woman can truly love a man who listens to Phil Collins.” Just one of the many moments in this film which left me laughing out loud as my heart sang with filial joy.