Thursday, July 28, 2016

'Sing Street' Is a Feel-Good Film About the Impact of Music and the Abounding Sanguinity of Youth

In a nutshell, Sing Street is about a boy who decides to form a band to impress a girl.  If only put that way, it makes the premise of the movie seems simplistic, clichéd, and petty.  However, it’s actually a rich, feel-good, and heartwarming teen comedy-drama.

Set in mid-1980’s Dublin, the plot centers on the youngest son of the struggling Lalor family, Connor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo).  Unable anymore to pay for his expensive fee-paying school, Connor’s father transfers him to a free state-school, overseen by the despotic principal Bro. Baxter (Don Wycherley).  One day, outside the school, he meets a beautiful aspiring model named Raphina (Lucy Boynton), and he is quickly smitten.  In an attempt to win her, he declares that his band needs a model for their music video, and asks her to be in it.

To make true of his ruse, Connor seeks the help of his classmate Darren (Ben Carolan), a wannabe businessman/producer, in forming his band.  The first recruit is the multi-instrumentalist Eamon (Mark McKenna), who becomes Connor’s songwriting partner.  Soon, the band positions are filled out by their other classmates.  They named their band “Sing Street”, and Connor pours his heart into writing songs... and Raphina.
Sing Street has the same charm as The Breakfast Club and other definitive teen movies of the 80’s.   It has the vibes of something made during that period – reflecting its common tropes and ideas.  However, we all have been once teenagers.  And regardless of whatever decade our teenage years were – 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, or 2000’s – this movie will surely strike a chord with us, as it delightfully reminds us of the emotions, sentiments, and boundless possibilities of that age – especially to us who also experienced being in a band.

I don’t really agree with all of the movie’s values, but I do appreciate how its youthful, optimistic tone enhances the impact of its themes – like seizing the moment; standing up to bullies; the great bonds of brotherhood and friendship; and the great expanse of inspiration, escape, and insights that music can and will incite.  There’s something indeed naïve and romanticized about the overall message of the movie, but the endearing sanguinity of the story is much more dominant.

Also, the soundtrack of this movie is elevating.  I don’t know how authentic the singing and playing of the actors are, but the actual output of the songs is pretty good.  I like how the Sing Street band evolves in music and style through this movie, and reflects the transitions of the narrative.  There’s a lack of cool guitar licks though.

Sing Street is one of this year’s most overlooked movie gems, if not the most.  It’s really worth seeking out and watching.  It’s an extremely fantastic movie; after watching it, it’s as if I was being moved to do the final scene of The Breakfast Club

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