Drive it like you stole it, and ride with John Carney to Sing Street!

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by Nile Fortner

When you have a conversation with someone about movies in 2016, what do you hear? Do you hear the obvious major blockbusters? All the movies with over a year of hype? Do you discuss the good and not so good? In 2016, I have had conversations with family and friends about such films as, Captain America: Civil War, Suicide Squad, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Moonlight, Swiss Army Man, The Nice Guys, and what a majority of people were discussing and debating about, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Despite how you may feel about these films, one film I believe people are not discussing enough or even realizing is Sing Street. I don’t know about you, but I have not had any conversations and or clue about Sing Street. Overall, people really didn’t seem to talk or care about it. Which is really a shame, because Sing Street should without a doubt definitely be one of the top 2016 films everyone should be talking about and viewing. 


The film takes place in 1985, when Dublin was hit hard economically and the Irish were heading in droves to London in search of employment. Times are tough, also for the once comfortable family of 14-year-old Conor, played by Irish musician and newcomer into the world of acting Ferdia Walsh – Peelo. Who is looking for a break from a home strained by his parents’ troubling relationship and money troubles, while trying to adjust to his new inner city public school where the kids are rough and the teachers are even rougher. He finds a glimmer of hope in the mysterious, cool and beautiful model Raphina, played by Lucy Boynton (Miss Potter, Ballet Shoes) and hopes of winning her heart he invites her to star in his band’s music videos. There’s only one teeny tiny problem, he’s not part of a band…yet. She agrees, and now Conor must deliver what he’s promised. Conor decides to form a band, and now calling himself “Cosmo” and immersing himself in the vibrant rock music trends of that decade. The decade of big hairstyles, hair scrunchies, shoulder pads, trying your best to look like Ziggy Stardust, and men with makeup. (I just probably described you in that era). Conor forms a band with a few school lads, the group pours their heart into writing lyrics shooting videos, bonding, destiny, and learning that being in a band is about finding who you are.
ROCK ‘N ROLL IS A RISK 

The first thing I have to discuss is the actual band. It was perfect casting! All the characters in this band feel fresh and like a natural bunch. Usually when adults are writing dialogue for teenagers and or young kids, it does not feel that natural. Meaning, it feels like adults have written for the teens, and it does not come off as a realistic conversation a teen would have with another teen(s). Teenagers talk and act like teenagers. Teenage boys get nervous when talking to a pretty girl, teens do want to express themselves, they sometimes do have the too cool for school state of mind, they do want escapism, and that’s exactly what you get with these young characters. I understand that Conor and Raphina are our main characters. However, some of the band members do feel just a little underwritten. Also, one thing that I love is how we truly grow with these characters from scene to scene. It was some of the best character development I’ve seen all year. For example, this isn’t a spoiler but Raphina does not really believe in destiny. Nevertheless, by the end of the movie there is a message on following your destiny and not being afraid of your journey ahead. We truly go on an adventure with this band; sometimes things are serious, sometimes funny, and relatable. 

The lyrics are more than just songs that sound good, but when you listen to the lyrics, it helps tell the story and pace of the film, and characters emotions throughout the film. They play a song at the end called “A Beautiful Sea”. The lyrics go a little something like this, “Under the waves I feel her pull my body down Under the waves she takes me where I wanna drown Ah, gimme miles away she calls my name She gets into my veins And writes my poetry This girl is a beautiful sea The girl is a beautiful sea”. That may be telling us the possible outcome of our main characters Conor and Raphina. I saw one review for this movie that said something about how the songs are just there for a quick dance, clap along, and a nod to bands of that era. I respectfully have to disagree on that. Every song had rhythm, style, well-written lyrics, and helped to tell the story. 

All though the story for this film may not be that original, I feel almost like this is the type of film where it is more focused on the characters than the story. The story is a story we’ve seen many times before. The whole let’s form a band, and boy meets girl story has been done already. However, the director of this film is John Carney who is well known for another music film I loved called Begin Again, he really does care for characters in all his films. He understands that characters can’t be flat. They have to be well rounded, given depth, goals, desires, and make them relatable for every viewer watching one of his films. You can have the best story in the world, but what good is it if your characters are not utilized efficiently? I feel like with any other director and writer, this movie would have been white bread bland. The best well written relationship here is that between Conor and his long haired, music loving, college-dropout, humorous, brother played by Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Delivery Man). At the closing-credits, there is a dedication that displays “for brothers everywhere”. I can see why Carney had that well written and strong relationship between the brothers in this film. It is a sentimental gesture that feels earned.

So these are my Final Bitchin’ Buddha Thoughts on the film Sing Street. It has an awesome message for everyone. A message of express yourself, go after what you want, don’t let haters stop you, destiny, love makes us do crazy things, and don’t be afraid to follow your heart. It is one of the best films of 2016, and I believe everyone will enjoy this. Really, I can’t see one person hating this film. Even if you do not like this type of music, I think you will dig this flick. It’s fun, funny, a great message for all, and this movie reminded me of why I love movies so much. Compared to Begin Again, this is perhaps not the most sophisticated storytelling. But there’s an infectious joyousness to the movie, right down to its fanciful fairy-tale ending. I am more than happy to give Sing Street

5 out of 5 Hairpieces!

I really do not see one individual walking out this movie upset and saying it sucks. When I was having a conversation with my family and friends, I told them my top favorite films of 2016 are Captain America: Civil War and 10 Cloverfield Lane. Now I get to add Sing Street to that conversation and top favorite 2016 films.

Well I’m gonna drive it like I stole it, because I’m ready to get out of here. Until next time, I hope you all check out this movie. Thank you for reading, and or viewing. I hope you all have an amazing day as always, and remember don’t just get down, but get Boogie. 🙂

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