There are few films that capture the magic, look, spark, or feel that Sing Street does. It is that rare film that elevates everything in it's presence. One can not help but be moved, to feel the insatiable mixture of hope, hard realities, love, and optimism not for dreamers but for those mired in the dirt, grim, and difficulties of life. It is simply put a masterpiece of a film.
Set in the midst of the 1980's in Ireland, as the youth of the country is fleeing in droves to the more promising shores of England and it's beckoning metropolises. Sing Street evokes the style, mood, and in a word you'll see a lot, feel of the decade and all it's crazy promise.
There are a lot of musicals, there are a lot of films about young love, there are even a few films about kids in schools creating a band, but the story of Sing Street is unlike anything else you've seen. The premise of a young man trying to impress a girl by making a band so she can appear in their music video is honestly something that sounds pretty fantastic on it's own. But the heart, humor, and style that Sing Street fills that simple premise with carries it to unimaginable heights.
Always managing to thread the fine line between the hope and earnestness that fills all of us during our youth, with the sometimes hard realities of life, of difficult family situations, of the promise and potential we are capable of if we're willing to go for it, Sing Street soars in it's deft handling of it's young characters and the messy world they find themselves in.
The young and almost entirely unknown cast of Sing Street is a joy to watch grow on screen. Yet, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo as the film's young hero Conor is an optimistic, hope fueled, force to be reckoned with. Watching the slow burn and growth of Conor as the film goes on, from shy, quite new kid with a liking for music, to a dynamic and ambitious young man full of confidence and belief in himself, who throws caution to the wind and rocks the pants off of the students and teachers at the schools year end dance is a joy. Ferdia shines in the role and gives the film a palpable sense of hope, of young love, and of hard won optimism.
This carries over into the brotherly love between Jack Reynor, as Conor's older brother Brendan and Conor. There is something undeniably powerful in this relationship. Brendan the once promising son who to quote him "blazed a path through the jungle" and was filled with grand ambitions and wild dreams and probably could have done them all. Yet, through a series of choices and actions has now been reduced to a mostly stoned Buddha figure in Conor's parents house, dispensing wisdom and encouraging Conor's love affair with both music and by proxy with Raphina, the girl Conor is chasing after.
Jack Reynor is brilliant in the role, giving the character a dark, edge to go with his light-hearted, largely supportive self. Brendan is a character that is deeply hurt and wounded, but also one who can still see a little light at the end of the tunnel.
Then we come to Lucy Boynton's magical performance as Raphina, the girl whose dangerous eyes have set Conor's world ablaze. A mysterious, tragic, and philosophical force of nature, Raphina seems stuck somewhere in between the feeling of being lost of Brendan and the promise represented by Conor. A year older than Conor and unquestionably cooler and more action focused, over time as Conor and his band Sing Street grow, by writing joyous songs about Raphina, the dynamic shifts and it falls to Conor to both leave an example for his brother to reignite his love for music and to convince Raphina of her dazzlingly potential.
Sing Street is magical, I can think of no more fitting description for this film than that. It's songs bounce from joyously pop dance tunes, loving and tender ballads, to hard rock screw authority bangers. It fills the screen with glorious and often times humorous nods to the 80's in all its wonder, excess, and ability to fill us with dreams of endless promise. Sing Street isn't a movie that offers up a happy ending, at least not in the traditional way, it gives us something far more ambiguous and unclear than that, but it unmistakenly leaves viewers with a cocktail of joy, inspiration, and hope. By the time the credits rolled I was left with a big ol' dumb smile on my face and a passionate fire being lit under me.
The feelings, emotions, and vibe of Sing Street is one of Conor realizing who he really is, of how much he has, and of not letting himself be dragged down by the shit in his life. Indeed he uses all the bad, all the arrogant authority figures, bullies, family drama, and topsy-turvy love chase with Raphina and creates wondrous works of art, creates an example for everyone to never ever give up chasing after that impossible, never gonna happen dream. Sing Street is a testament to the spark that lays in the soul of us all and what a damn fine work of art it is.