Music to Get the Girl – Sing Street (2016)

Back to Ireland.  So this is about a young student (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who has to switch schools due to financial struggles with his family.  He sets his sight on a girl (Lucy Boynton) that lives across the street from his school, and he says that he’s in a band in an effort to impress her.  Trouble is, he’s not in a band… yet.  This is from director John Carney, and if you are at all familiar with the kind of movies he puts together, this adds up.  It’s a movie about music and it is very Irish, so of course it makes sense that this is the same director from the indie hit Once.  I was not aware of this going in, it merely got recommended to me by a trusted critic.  I figured it out though pretty early on, even without a trip to IMDb.

1It’s very different than Once, but very much for that same audience.

There is a lot to like about this movie, and this may appeal to you for a number of different reasons.  If you’re a fan of music from the 80’s, then yes, I think you should check this out.  There’s so much music in here featured by 80’s stars like The Cure and Duran Duran, it is almost like a love letter to an entire decade.  If you like low-budget movies with heart, then I think that you’ll go for this as well.  Carney has indie filmmaker sensibilities, and if you loved Once, I think you’ll love Sing Street, although for very different reasons.  If you like coming of age stories, then this is totally for you.  Sure, doing something big and sweeping to win over a girl is a tale as old as they come, but really, there is a lot of self-exploration that goes on here as well.  All parties involved here clearly have a love, affection and adoration for music, and it really shows up in the product that they have put together here.  All the kids are good, but I feel that it is the brother (Jack Reynor) that ends up stealing she show as this sage-like character who is able to put any situation into perspective.

2And I’ve never seen anybody featured here before, other than Littlefinger.

While I did very much enjoy this, I never fell in love with this like I had hoped I would.  I don’t really have any harsh critiques to dole out on this, either; I think it really succeeds in everything that it sets out to do, but it never stirred me in the way that I felt that it was going for.  The jokes do hit, the music is great, and it is wonderful to see a song come together; nobody else out there can do that quite like John Carney can, and I think that it is the standout element of this film on the whole.  Sing Street has heart for days, and while I didn’t love it per se, if there is anything in this review that I have said that makes you think that you may like this, please take a chance on it, because you could very well fall deeply in love with it.

Sing Street (2016) ***1/2

– Critic for Hire

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