Like the best of John Hughes and the most confident of modern musicals, Sing Street is addictive and rousing. The newly minted high school band at its center may have dreams beyond their Dublin suburbs, but the film only yourns for the audience’s toes to be tapping.
Along the course of Sing Street, the central teen’s musical tastes develop from exposure to the various subgenres present during its particular 1985 setting. Naturally, his style changes abruptly to incorporate swabs of makeup, bleached patches of hair, and a nuked mane to mimic the influence of Duran Duran and The Cure on his musical infancy. The specificity lent to the film by the exact moment in (especially British) music actually goes to underscore the timelessness of the film and the transforming power of the artform.
That Sing Street can organically chart these seismic shifts happening daily to our hero Conor (a charming and genuine Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) through the lens of music is to be somewhat expected coming from director John Carney. His humanistic approach to character and connection through music have worked previously in Once and Begin Again, with this effort being the best among them. Carney’s characters have always defined themselves through music, but never has he shown more depth to that identification. Like our constantly evolving taste in music and the shifting landscape of popular music, our identities are diverse and mutable, something entirely different from one day to the next.
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