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Saturday, April 16, 2016


The cast of SING STREETCourtesy of The Weinstein Company
2016, 105 minutes
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including strong language and some bullying behavior, a suggestive image, drug material and teen smoking

Review by Joshua Handler

If every movie was like Sing Street, the world would be a happier place. A blast of perfectly-calibrated joy, energy, and charm, John Carney's brilliant new film is his third music film and is so wonderful that it can be mentioned in the same breath as his 2007 Oscar-winning masterpiece, Once. The film follows Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), a teen who starts a band to impress a girl, Raphina (Lucy Boynton), against the backdrop of 1985 Dublin. Music becomes an outlet for Conor to escape his school and family troubles, eventually becoming a way for him to break free. 

Few films capture the youthful optimism that Sing Street does. This film is obviously a personal project for Carney, and he infuses it with a rare kind of authenticity, especially through his and Greg Clark's soulful, energetic soundtrack (it would be very easy to mistake a number of their songs for authentic '80s pop hits) and the performances of the cast. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo is a major new talent. As the lead of the film, he makes us all believe in and cheer for Conor. Walsh-Peelo captures the kind of I-can-do-anything ambition that only teens have when starting their lives. 

As Raphina, Lucy Boynton is alluring, seductive, and sweet. She and Walsh-Peelo made me feel as if I was first falling in love all over again through their convincing chemistry. And, Jack Reynor provides much of the film's emotional core as Conor's troubled brother, Brendan. His quiet yet naturally charismatic performance makes every second of his limited screen time potent.

Too few films celebrate creativity as much as Sing Street does. Carney has made a film that promotes creative risk-taking and how it can lead to a richer life. While with this message he doesn't say anything new, it's still refreshing to see a film executed this perfectly with a message like this one.
I could sing Sing Street's praises for months to come. There's truly nothing negative I can say about this film. I walked out of Sing Street with a huge smile on my face and will likely rewatch it many more times.


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