“Sing Street” is a perfect storm of artistic talent funneled together to create a beautiful work. I thought this movie would be a cute teen musical. Instead, it turned out to be one of the best-made films I’ve seen this year. Every character is highly memorable and I believe “Sing Street” is Oscar worthy – here’s why.
The story works on many planes. The film’s music is an intrinsic part of the characters’ lives. On the surface, it’s a universal tale of an angst-ridden teenager forced to move from his upscale school to another in a tough neighborhood. The story encompasses his dysfunctional family, his interactions with the class bully and the sadistic priest, and the “unattainable” model/ object of his dreams. The way this simple saga comes together is extraordinary. The setting is 1980’s Dublin, at that time in the midst of a recession. The plaintive pop music from the ’80’s serves to help set the landscape of time and place. The players are fascinating to watch, so real they almost pop off the screen.
Director John Carney’s film “Once” won the 2008 Oscar for Music Written for Motion Pictures. “Sing Street” is a very personal story for Carney, who was bassist and vocalist for Irish band The Frames from 1990-93. The music, more than the dialogue, tells the story. Editors Andrew Marcus and Julian Ulrichs, and cinematographer Yaron Orbach, had all worked with Carney on a previous film. They have created a visually rich world with an exceptional emotional intimacy. Costume designer Tiziana Corvisieri, who also worked on “Once,” uses great imagination and sensitivity – the costumes “speak” volumes.
“Sing Street” is proof that one need not hire name actors to produce a superb film. The star, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, comes from a musical family in rural County Wicklow, Ireland, and had no previous training as an actor. He started singing and playing piano as a child, at 12 he toured with Ireland’s Theatre Opera Company, and as a teen he taught himself guitar. At an open audition, Walsh-Peelo stunned the director with his musical talent and dramatic instincts. Jack Reynor, who is wonderful as his older brother, was also raised in County Wicklow. Other members of the cast turn in magnificent performances, especially Mark McKenna as the leader of the band, Ian Kenny as the class bully, Don Wycherly as sadistic “Brother Baxter” and Lucy Boynton as a teenage aspiring model.
The audience can feel when magic is born among the actors and the team making a film. In this movie that magic happened. One of the cast noted that everyone on set was always laughing together. Walsh-Peelo’s mother observed a great bond among cast and crew. Watch the movie and you’ll feel it as well.
I believe it’s no coincidence that the Walsh-Peelo and McKenna are visually and musically reminiscent of Lennon and McCartney. That resemblance underscores the fact that “Sing Street” is a universal saga of the energy, exuberance, love and chance, which go into the creation of a stellar band whose music resonates for the ages.
Released April 15
Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. firstname.lastname@example.org. For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com/.