Very few films can manage to understand how music is a very important aspect of life and can sometimes drive us and move us in to aspirations, inspiration, and love. The other great music film released in 2016 was “Everybody Wants Some!!” While Linklater explored how music is the soundtrack of our lives, John Carney’s masterpiece “Sing Street” is about how music can launch us in to realms we never knew were there. Music can open up doors and allow us to see things about ourselves that are incredible, and sometimes very ugly. A beautiful amalgam of “Almost Famous,” and “Say Anything,” with a hint of “Once,” John Carney is again at his top conveying a musical drama centered on more impoverished characters.
Carney sets his film in the middle of 1985 in Dublin where our trio of protagonists is obsessed with music. For them music seems to be the only salvation in the drudgery that is their everyday lives. Conor is a teen approaching high school who manages to ignore his parents’ dying marriage and the failure of role models like his big brother and father with music. When we first see him he’s playing his guitar in his room attempting to tune out his mother and father arguing with one another, and then uses their rage to fuel his creativity. He reaches an epiphany when his older brother Conor helps him realize that music is what’s keeping the world in motion, as music videos cover the general stratosphere of local television.
Conor decides to form a band of his own as a means of coping with going to a public school run by his local church. The seams almost come together at once for Conor who begins to come of age through musical expression, all the while falling head over heels for unique beauty and aspiring model Raphina. “Sing Street” brings us through the journey of Conor and his band, as they try to create their own style of music all the while steering through a school that openly promotes conformity and is run by a very abusive head priest. Carney taps in to the magic of the eighties beautifully, revealing how they influence Conor and his friends to concoct their own unique style of music, while doling out the hits from bands like Duran Duran and The Clash.
Everything from the performances, to the narrative, right down to the music is incredible, while Ferdia Walsh-Peelo is pitch perfect as the awkward Conor who begins to blossom the more he embraces his individuality. Despite blunt violent rebuttals from the school bully, and the school’s staff, Conor inspires others to flash their individuality proudly. This helps him cope with the startling realization that failure and lack of fulfillment surround him, and he has to find a way to escape before he’s eventually dragged down in to the slums. Along with Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton is excellent as enigmatic Raphina who becomes Conor’s virtual muse, and Jack Reynor the older brother and mentor to Conor who represents everything he could be, for better and for worse.
John Carney just continues impressing with brilliant, beautiful tributes to the magic of music and how much is represents the language of life. “Sing Street” is an absolute masterpiece. Featured in the release from Anchor Bay is the Digital Copy for consumers. There’s “Making Sing Street” a five minute exploration of the film’s story, how John Carney used his own experiences in the film, and how the film conveys his own wish fulfillment. Writer/Director John Carney & Adam Levine Talk Sing Street is a three minute discussion about the movie mixing music and film together and the realistic depictions of the 80’s. Finally, there is the Cast Auditions, which feature a slew of audition reels from the cast. There’s an introduction from John Carney, and footage featuring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Mark McKenna, Ben Carolan, and more.