Note: This is a repost of my review from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
If anyone has mastered the art of musical films, it’s John Carney. The director of the immensely popular “Once,” which is now on Broadway, and 2013’s less popular but very good “Begin Again,” has done it again with “Sing Street,” a film full of music and love and youthfulness that will have everyone bouncing their knee to its rhythm.
In ’80s Ireland, the economy isn’t the greatest and many are cutting costs or moving away. Young Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is in the midst of this, after being told by his parents (Aiden Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy) that he’ll be going to a different school so that they could save a bit of money. While there, he’s forced to deal with a terrible priest who preys on students and bullies. But then Conor meets Raphina (Lucy Boynton), a mature teenager who dreams of becoming a model and moving to London with her boyfriend.
Without thinking, Conor convinces Raphina to star in his band’s music video. The only problem is, there is no band, but what better way to impress a girl than to play her some music? So Conor and his friend Eamon (Mark McKenna), influenced by the videos on MTV and by his pot-smoking, music-loving brother, Brendan (Jack Reynor), start a band and have Raphina star in them as promised.
John Carney’s third musical film is rife with charisma, charm, engaging characters, and an optimistic outlook that’s hard to ignore. And, oh yeah, the soundtrack is one of the best of Carney’s films, with the intensely upbeat “Drive it Like You Stole it” taking center stage and lifting the film to new heights. Conor’s band changes styles and tastes very quickly, but, at the same time, manage to keep their own personality in their music.
John Carney’s “Sing Street” is a feel-good film with so much joy that it’s infectious. It’s wrought with first love, a hopeful ending that works in the era that it’s set in, and an uproariously guaranteed good time with a soundtrack that’ll be hard to get out of your head after having heard it. Carney nails the tone of the film and everything from the costumes, to the dialogue and music will have you leaving the theater feeling uplifted and tapping your feet. “Sing Street” is a hard film not to like, and with its charisma and buoyancy, it’s easily one of the best films at Sundance this year.
Carney nails the tone of the film and everything from the costumes, to the dialogue and music will have you leaving the theater feeling uplifted and tapping your feet.