SING STREET is a charming fantastical heartfelt movie of joy and wonder that will leave you with a big fat smile on your face. It came out of nowhere, it wasn’t heavily promoted and only screened to the arthouse audience. I caught the trailer and put it on my MUST SEE list but got caught up in life until the peeps at Roadshow Entertainment sent me a copy to review for the home entertainment release. It is out now, is rated M, runs for 106mins and is a MUST SEE family film.
SING STREET SYNOPSIS:
Like all the best music movies, band movies, teenage movies and feel good movies, SING STREET is about overcoming adversity and having fun in tough times. In the same vain as THE COMMITMENTS, BILLY ELLIOT, GREASE, FOOTLOOSE, DIRTY DANCING and even HAPPY FEET this will leave you so incredibly happy. Simple premise; boy meets girl, girl isn’t interested, boy lies his ass off and forms a band to impress girl, things get epic. With a partnership nod to STRANGER THINGS SING STREET isn’t just a borderline fantasy/ coming of age/ music movie, it is also a homage to some of the greatest music from the 80s. I will own this soundtrack! And they get extra points for love of THE CURE.
People from my own generation will fall in love with this movie. Set in Dublin in the mid 80s it is a time of financial difficulty for the working class. Conor’s family pull him out of private school and send him to the local Christian Brothers public school, Synge Street. The school population is ruled by the dickhead school principal and also the bullying skinhead student, Barry.
The premise is not new, and while it is a movie set in the 80s, the tone is fresh. Writer/ Director John Carney (ONCE, BEGIN AGAIN) loves his music movies and manages to fit so many themes into this movie that it feels completely real and as usually troubled as the teens it encompasses. And while the themes of financial woes, sexuality, teenage identity, bullying, love, racism, domestic violence, divorce, unemployment, and pedophilia are all touched upon, they are not centre stage. They are the mere issues of life the protagonists face. While the outcomes are a little saccharine and more akin to a Disney story this is a teenage music fantasy film, it is not a documentary. And sometimes we all just need a happy movie.
If it wasn’t for this cast the movie wouldn’t be as successful. How the hell Carney managed to find someone as talented as Ferdia Walsh-Peelo to play Conor I will never know. He is a sublime actor who stole the show. While the movie is endeavouring to be a “band-movie,” and this is where its success lies, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo truly takes centre stage. He is like a non-arrogant, less over-the-top Noah Galvin from the THE REAL O’NEILS (don’t get me wrong I love that show!). He was also helped along by the talented production designer, Alan MacDonald, who provided an ever-surprising hair, make up and wardrobe for Conor and the rest of the band.
The rest of the cast is all top notch, the bandmates have some hysterical moments. It would have been nice to have them more developed but I think once Carney saw the talents of Ferdia they steered the movie in that direction. Special mention to Lucy Boynton as Raphina. She came across as a lot older than Conor the one year in the story but their chemistry worked for Conor’s love struck pup. Raphina’s make-up also epitomised the 80s film clip girls.
Another special mention to my boy, Jack Reynor, as Conor’s no hoping brother Brendan. He has missed his chance to be Conor, and has given up, cruising through life enjoying music, pot and his succumbed world. He is a musical sage for his brother Conor, steering him on being “cooler” and coming up with ideas that will make the band succeed. I have loved Reynor for years, WHAT RICHARD DID was a marvel from 2012 and ever since I hunt down everything this guy is in. I will even forgive him for TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.
The music is the soul for SING STREET and what a shiny 80s soul it is. The band changes their look and their style as they try to find themselves and in doing so we get many cool looks and tunes. We get music by Motorhead, The Cure, The Clash, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Robert Smith, Flash and the Pan, Genesis, The Jam, The Blades, Hall and Oats and Starship. It is a trip down my memory lane and truly makes this movie. And like I said before – I will own this soundtrack. Get it if you can – add it to your Spotify and start tapping those shoes along to these awesome tunes.
SING STREET is a marvellous movie we all need in our lives. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo will go on to greater things following his brilliant cinematic debut and I truly hope you all get to see it on DVD/ Blu Ray because these are the kind of movies we need to be seeing. Talented cast and crew telling brilliant stories without a superhero in sight. This will make my best of 2016 list of movies that I promise is coming soon.
Jason King owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan.
** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.