This is the beginning of the eighties, and everybody is moving to the beat of the Pop music, as the brand-new concept of the music video appears on television for the first time. However, in Dublin, Conor--a teenager with a sensitive heart--is trying to deal with a tense family relationship, reconnect with his older brother, while dealing with the hostile environment in his new public school. And then, one day, he sees her. Tall, with long chestnut hair, a buttery complexion, and big, dark eyes; an enigmatically beautiful girl standing in front of his school's gate, indolently observing people passing by. But, who is she, and how could a boy ever get noticed by such a distant girl? That's easy. He would form a band. Surprisingly, with every lyric Conor writes, the gap narrows, and with every song he plays, her heart fills with affection. In the end, before a sea of opportunities lying ahead of them, what will the future hold for a brave love like this?Written by
In the scene where Conor and Raphina have a conversation in the orphanage for the first time, heard in the background is a slow piano version of A-Ha's "Take on Me", the first song Conor sings to her. See more »
Evan arrives in a Golf Cabriolet GTi Clipper. Volkswagen didn't produce the Cabriolet with the Clipper kit until 1988. This would be incorrect if the film is based in 1985. See more »
Jesus Christ, what are you all wearing?
Yeah, we're just working that out, so... maybe you can help.
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One of the disclaimers in the closing credits: "This is a period film. Synge Street School, like much of Ireland, was a very different place in the 1980's [sic] than it is now. Today Synge Street School is a progressive, multi-cultural school with an excellent academic record and a committed staff of teachers." See more »
I'm a sucker for movies about musicians, and John Carney has already given us Once (2007) and Begin Again (2013). Now he delights once more with Sing Street, a tale told with humor, drama, and some pretty catchy songs, all set in the backdrop of 1980's Dublin.
Yes, Sing Street is set in the 80's so it undeniably lends itself to comic relief as these schoolboys are forced to navigate through hair, makeup, clothing and music video choices along their artistic journey. We get plenty of laughs as we watch them try to forge an identity and look like bona-fide rock stars in this crazy MTV generation. And for good measure, they insert the obligatory Phil Collins joke in the mix.
There is quite a deal of drama as well. We see bullying in an all-boys school, dysfunctional families, the economic hardships of Ireland in the 80's and young people's wish to break out of societal malaise and seek their fortunes elsewhere. I haven't lived in Ireland but the desire to pack your bags and start over in another place is a universal one. Audiences in every continent can relate to that.
The cast is solid and I was very impressed with the leads, especially Ferdia Walsh-Peelo who plays Connor. He can be charming, kind, insecure but out-of-nowhere gutsy which is an accurate depiction of a blossoming musician. After the first hour I began to be doubtful of the character of Connor's brother Brendan for seeming to be too wise for his age, but by the end of the film it all made sense, and Jack Reynor was a fine choice for that role. Lucy Boynton (Raphine) is great as the love interest and mysterious but troubled muse; she packs an emotional performance and probably looks the most natural in 80's fashion, although she didn't quite convince me as a 16 year-old and it wasn't because of all the excess hair and makeup. On the other hand Mr. Walsh-Peelo (Connor) was only 15 when the movie was shot and he's got that boyish appearance. Finally Mark McKenna (Eamon) has such an uncanny resemblance to Julian Lennon it's scary! But a good actor too.
As far as concerns I had only a few major ones but they didn't detract from the enjoyment of the film. First is that the story moves very quickly in the first 30 minutes or so, then takes the foot off the pedal for the remainder. And second, it's a little unrealistic that these kids can write quality songs right out of the blocks. It would have been fun to hear a real stinker when they're starting out. I'm a musician and believe me, our first attempts are pretty bad. That's true even for the all-time best.
There were a few other minor things but they're not worth mentioning. This is a great story, it got all the laughs, cheers and tears in the right places and I would recommend it to everyone, especially those who want to express themselves through art and aspire to greatness. Dream big, all you adolescents. A big thanks to John Carney et al for reminding us of that and making a quality film.
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