Director: John Carney
Cast: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Jack Reynor, Lucy Boynton, Kelly Thornton
Runtime: 1 hr 46 mins
Rating: PG13 (Brief Coarse Language)
Released By: Shaw
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/singstreetmovie/?fref=ts
Opening Day: 28 July 2016
Synopsis: Like his earlier films ONCE and BEGIN AGAIN, SING STREET is inspired by writer/director John Carney’s life and love for music, and tells the story of a 14-year-old named Cosmo growing up in 80’s Dublin who must break free of a home strained by his parents’ relationship and money troubles, deal with his drop-out older brother’s antics, and survive a new public school where the kids are rough and the brothers are tougher. Cosmo writes a song, forms a scrappy band with some school mates, writes more songs, and shoots some wicked music videos. How to shoot pop videos in a recession ridden country? Beg, borrow and steal. And steal. But when he realizes he can’t save his family, he must make a family of his own.
We all had that one point in life when we felt that nothing else was more important than pursuing our dreams, and what we really enjoyed doing. While each and every one of us has to deal with a certain something called reality, it takes a film like this to remind us that there is more to life than hard facts, logical justifications and absolute numbers.
There is something simply termed as “a feeling”, and that following that “feeling” will make you feel that you have lived your life fully.
After the low budget 2007 indie Once Again (the film was a surprise winner at the Oscars for Best Original Song “Falling Slowly”) and the 2013 Adam Levine and Keira Knightley vehicle Begin Again (in this writer’s opinion, Lost Stars is one of the best songs ever written), writer director John Carney follows up with his yet another story about how music has the power to communicate emotion. Like the characters in the two other movies, the personalities in this Irish musical drama and even to stand in for conversation.
The protagonist in this 106 minute film is a teenage boy (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who is trying to impress a girl (Lucy Boynton) by starting a band. Soon, amidst family and school problems, music becomes his life – something which gives him drive and motivation. The story by Carney himself is based heavily on his own high school experiences.
There is much to identify with in this film. Viewers can easily connect with the endearing characters and exhilarating music (nostalgia is a commodity, which works to the movie’s advantage in this case), and more importantly – it reminds people what it feels like to create something, and how it’s the little things in life that matters the most. Music is a wonderful tool, and how it represents the language of life is aptly brought across with this film. The story isn’t anything dramatic or extraordinary – it is a tale you and I remember because it is something we have experienced before.
The film also reminds us poignantly that there are all sorts of personal problems we encounter, and there is a kind of “sad happy” that we indulge ourselves in. That, essentially, sums up what life is about.
By using relatively unknown actors (the only familiar face you may recognise is Aidan Gillen from the hit series Game of Thrones), Carney manages gets his audiences focus on the story instead of hinging on star appeal. The result is a charming piece of work which you want to hold on to dearly, because it is a piece of your life you may never get back.
Of course, like Once Again and Begin Again, you will want to add the songs featured to your personal playlist after walking out of the theatre. From Motorhead’s “Stay Clean” and Duran Duran’s “Rio”, to The Cure’s “In Between Days” and Hall & Oates’ “Maneater”, there is never a dull moment throughout the film. The cast also performs lovely tunes like “The Riddle of the Model” and “Drive It Like You Stole It”, which will have you tapping your feet to the infectious rhythm. When the film ends with Adam Levine’s “Go Now”, it will leave you with a newfound hope that life can be lived differently, as long as you have the courage to pursue what you want.
(A charming film about life that shows how music is a powerful tool to communicate emotions)
Review by John Li