Sing Street

 

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John Carney doubtless hoped that with Sing Street he would equal the appeal of his hit film Once but, in fact, he has come up with an even better piece.

 

Sing Street

Street music: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Lucy Boynton

  

On paper Sing Street may not sound to be of much interest: the very title is less than inspiring and to say that it is a story set in the 1980s about aspiring youngsters in Dublin hoping to set up a pop band suggests a total lack of originality. But, when you see it, it’s another matter entirely: the perfect casting and the sheer energy of the piece turn it into a delight.

John Carney as writer and director adroitly presents us with an engaging central character in Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who is rather young for his age, which is fifteen. The casting here allows for a splendid balance between the effective comedy that comes from the naivety of Conor and his friends and the appeal of their dream that makes us root for them and not least for Conor himself both as musician and as shy lover. He is attracted to a girl named Raphina (the well cast Lucy Boynton) who, understandably, already has an older boyfriend. One can see how Conor’s dreams may necessitate his leaving home for London, but will he make the break and can he persuade Raphina to go with him?

For extra dramatic weight Sing Street also incorporates the story of Conor’s older brother Brendan who has missed his chance to get away. Brendan is excellently played by the ever reliable Jack Reynor who confirms his range by entertaining us with the comic aspects of his role but then bringing out a more serious side very effectively. But this is subsidiary both to Conor’s tale and to the music for, as was the case with Once (2007), this is indeed a film with music at its heart. It provides an admirable blend of period tracks set against many original songs to which Carney has himself contributed. Towards the end, the film is slightly too ready to conform to pattern and a touch of symbolism at the close doesn’t quite work. But it scarcely matters, and the new songs, whether performed on screen or offered as soundtrack backing, are a treat as they celebrate love in both its happy and sad aspects. For summer entertainment you are unlikely to do better than this, and the film lives up to its dedication: “for brothers everywhere”.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Cast: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Aidan Gillen, Kelly Thornton, Don Wycherley, Mark McKenna, Percy Chamburuka.

 

Dir John Carney, Pro Anthony Bergman, Marina Niland and John Carney, Screenplay (from a story by Simon Carmody and himself) John Carney, Ph Yaron Orbach, Pro Des Alan MacDonald, Ed Andrew Marcus and Julian Ulrichs, Music (original songs) Gary Clark and John Carney, Costumes Tiziana Corvisieri.

 

Merced Media/PalmStar Media Capital/FilmNation Entertainment/a Likely Story, FilmWave Distressed Films, Cosmo Films production etc.-Lionsgate UK.
106 mins. Ireland/USA/UK. 2015. Rel: 20 May 2016. Cert. 12A.