Director John Carney (Once) did it again – he made us all want to go out and start a band, sing in the shower, dance on the streets. His musical dramas are nothing to sniff your nose at, even if you don’t like musicals, and his latest film, Sing Street, is no exception.
14 year old Dublin boy Cosmo (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) spends his days writing lyrics about his life, listening to his parents argue, and getting taught about the UK music scene by his older brother Brendan (Jack Reynon). When he sees beautiful model Raphina in front of the school, he pretends to be interested in casting her for his band’s new music video, leading him, when she accepts, to quickly form a band. As his family crumbles further, and school authorities start pressing him into being a normal boy, Cosmo, always helped by his drop-out older brother, finds solace in his music, running against the clock to seduce Raphina with his songs before she leaves to London with her boyfriend…
This heart-warming coming of age story lives mostly from its great soundtrack and the charisma of its main characters – Cosmo, who starts as the easily bullied posh boy in a rough school and ends up as a proper (local) rock star, and Brendan, the wise older boy who doesn’t seem to care much about the direction of his life. Reynon, gives a great and believable performance as Brendan, the secret protagonist of the film, and there’s no wonder why the film is dedicated to all brothers, in the end. Technically, the DIY music videos the boys do are a delight to be seen, from their messy making offs to the result on the screen, particularly in their “American Prom” performance.
The script, also written by Carney, isn’t afraid to throw a wicked sense of humour, mostly related to how Cosmo and his friends deal with their musical influences, into what could be, in other hands, a very grim tale of a family fallen apart. In the end, Sing Street is an example of how it is possible to transform the worse life in a life worth living, just through the power of art and originality. Its simple message – never do anything just half – resonates with both teenagers and grown-ups, and you’ll need to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the somewhat open ending to Cosmo and Raphina’s story.
A funny first love story told through great rock’n’roll music, Sing Street is definitely worth a watch, and many repeated listenings.
Sing Street will be in UK cinemas on 22nd April 2016