‘Rock and roll is a risk. You risk being ridiculed…’
Cinema doesn’t have to be rocket science. The more complicated the film, the more chance of something going wrong. Sometimes it doesn’t take ostentatious explosions or world famous actors but rather, a simple story, told well. Sing Street wisely follows the example of classic British feel good cinema such as The Full Monty and Billy Elliott, in order to produce a film as entertaining as it is heart warming.
Ferdia Walsh-Peelo is Conor, a teenage boy growing up in Dublin in the 80s. Conor is forced to move to a new school due to his family’s financial troubles. Despite an inauspicious start, he soon finds solace in music and a mysterious local girl. Walsh-Peelo is truly brilliant in a breakout role reminiscent of Craig Roberts in Submarine. The script is warm, funny and authentic, with characters fitting nicely into stereotypes whilst still being well drawn and compelling.
The one misstep is how much time we spend on the actual music. At times, Sing Street is almost a full blown musical and while my viewing experience was perhaps tempered by my complete lack of interest in the musical as an art form, there is no doubting that the musical numbers bring the film grinding to a halt. The music is… fine. As good as you are probably going to get for songs written specifically for a film, but not good enough to merit how much screen time they are given.
The supporting cast are enthusiastic and likeable, particularly Jack Reynor and Ian Kenny as Conor’s older brother and band mate respectively. Game of Thrones fans will be familiar with Aidan Gillen as the scheming Littlefinger but it is nice to see him utilizing his native Irish accent as the patriarchal Robert and he brings ferocity and humour to an understated role.
Sing Street is a straight forward, enjoyable cinema that uses a risky cinematic template in order to tell an aged old story. If all the best music is about escapism than Sing Street serves as a great companion piece. Director John Carney has crafted a film that I can’t imagine anybody not enjoying.