Sing Street tells the story of a teenager dreamer Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who is forced to change schools from a private one to a Catholic brothers school. Conor also has the biggest crush on Raphina (Lucy Boynton) and decides to start a band to impress her and so she can appear in their music videos. It’s set in Dublin in 1985 and for the most part the period detail is solid even if the songs the band perform are slightly too modern sounding at times. It’s been called a “musical” probably more down to John Carney’s previous film Once, it’s full of music but it’s hardly a musical in the classical sense.
The film really exceeds in portraying the near impossible act of showing the progression of a teenage boy. Every week his band “Sing Street” adopts a new persona. One week they are a backstreet Duran Duran knock-off and the next after his brother playing him The Cure’s “The Head on the Door” a wannabe goth pop group. It beautifully portrays the schizophrenic mindset of a teenage boy trying to figure out what he is but in a lighthearted way.
This is Ferdia Walsh-Peelo’s film debut and if this performance is anything to go by he should and probably will have a long career. Lucy Boynton has done some work previously in but she radiates every moment she is on-screen and I challenge anyone not to fall a little bit in love with her. The rest of the cast is really strong especially the young actors, this year has been solid for films and television casting good young actors who aren’t too cutesy.
The period detail isn’t as strong as I would like. His brother looks too much like a grungy metal guy from the ’90s for instance. The archive music is pretty spot on however with The Clash, The Jam, The Cure, Duran Duran amongst others. The songs written for the film sound too much of modern landfill indie which brings the music down slightly.
Films about being young can be tricky to get the right balance. Sing Street however just pulls it off even if the last act ultimately falters. It also has some grit to it with some subtext about the head of the school being a paedophile. It does have an energy that the best British teen romance films have like Gregory’s Girl which is the most obvious comparison. One of my friends who saw the film in the US (where is oddly opened first) said the main character reminded me of him which I wasn’t sure about but since I’ve seen the film I’ll take that as compliment.