The Boy has a girlfriend, as noted in previous reviews, with whom he goes to see certain films that he discerns my lack of interest in, like The Force Awakens or Deadpool. Sing Street was one of those movies, surprisingly, since I hadn’t mentioned it one way or another. So, I guess he also just takes her to the movies because they want to go to the movies. I found myself by the theater with a couple of hours to kill, so I figured I’d check it out, too.
I was pretty much blind going in, and the first thing I noticed was that it starts with about half-a-dozen vanity plates, and I thought, “Jeez. This has as many production companies claiming credit as an Irish/French film.” Because European movies (and French and Irish films in particular) usually have a ridiculous number of financiers who insist on being seen at the front of the film. (Like the lottery commission or the official film board of the country.)
The next thing I noticed was that it was, in fact, Irish. The Boy had not mentioned that. The next thing I noticed was that it was a musical. (The Boy had mentioned that.) But the thing after that I noticed was that it was based in the ’80s—another detail The Boy did not see fit to mention. (The ’80s are kind of big around here. The kids like “The Regular Show” which is a very ’80s-oriented cartoon, and “Broforce”, which is a very ’80s-oriented computer game.)
It’s very ’80s.
It’s also very good. Although I wasn’t a big fan of ’80s music, I appreciated that the movie’s original songs were very ’80s sounding. (Contrast with the awful Dirty Dancing “big finale” which throws the movie out of 1960 and into 1987.)
The premise is cute enough: An Irish lad from a breaking home gets transferred out of his tony school into a much worse school in a tough area. He’s taken with a local cutie from the girls’ home nearby and convinces her to star in a video his band is making.
Now, all he has to do is form a band. And write some original songs. And figure out how to make a video.
Really good characterization, and performances by Aiden Gillen (“Game of Thrones”, my 2014 movie-of-the-year Calvary) and Maria Doyle Kennedy (“Downton Abbey”, Albert Nobbs) as the feuding parents, newcomer Ferdia Walsh-Peero as the sensitive-but-not-too-nerdy-to-be-believable boy wooing the gorgeous girl (Lucy Boynton, Miss Potter and the 2008 “Sense and Sensibility”), and especially Jack Reynor (Macbeth) as the loser-but-wiser older brother who guides his little brother along to…well, potential success, anyway.
Writer-director Jack Reynor also wrote and directed the well-received musicals Once and Begin Again, and he could probably go his whole life doing nothing but writing love stories centered around musicians without me objecting. He seems to have a real knack for blending good songs into the storyline in such a way that they act as characterization or even, as in the prom in this case, plot points.
The Boy has no particular affinity for this type of film (except insofar as he likes good movies, as he says) but he really enjoyed it and recommended it. So take that as a very hearty recommendation indeed.