The premise of Sing Street is not a complicated one: a kid at a new school must form an awesome band to impress a girl; all kinds of drama ensues. It’s a textbook hero’s journey crossed with a romance, with a healthy dollop of family drama thrown in, but despite this simple setup the film is highly compelling, charmingly emotive and beautifully executed. It’s no surprise, given that writer and director John Carney was also the brains behind Once, that this film is so sensitive and endearing in its content, but this time with a more impressive visual execution.
The sets, costuming and props perfectly evoke the period in which the story unfolds, even to the point of showiness, and this is deftly augmented by a clear sensitivity to colour. Sing Street largely confines itself to an earthy palette, with brighter hues only breaking out in moments of transcendence. It’s clear that everything within this movie has been carefully curated, from the settings to the soundtrack – both the “real” music selections and the tracks created for the film. All feel decidedly “of a time”, and yet all still carry the real-world fidelity and visceral impact common to today’s cinema. The balance between modern technique and source material from a previous era is difficult to achieve, but Sing Street walks that line with flare.
The greatest praise must be saved for the cast. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, as main character Cosmo, perfectly portrays all the awkwardness and forced bravado that typifies that age, whilst still bringing genuine warmth to the story, which helps keep audiences of all ages on board. Lucy Boynton as Raphina is much the same, realising with equal skill both the childhood posturing of trying to seem “cool” and moments of raw emotion that promise to elicit tears. Jack Reynor as big brother Brendan is certain to be a fan favourite; Don Wycherley as Brother Baxter quite the opposite, a Trunchbull-esque pantomime bad guy for what is, in many ways, simply a teenage wish-fulfilment story.
Undeniably, Sing Street draws upon a healthy amount of cliché and emotional manipulation, but the execution is so strong, and so engaging that all of that ceases to matter; the audience will be so invested they won’t care which cinematic ground is being retrodden. Truly, it is The Force Awakens of rom-com band movies.
Sing Street is released nationwide on 20th May 2016.
Watch the trailer for Sing Street here: