Quick Hit: Young love, brotherhood, and the intense creation of music – you couldn’t ask for more.
I’ve always been a very unapologetic music lover. I may not have the same musical talents that some can boast, but I have passing skill with my voice and a desire to always learn more (unfortunately, I rarely give myself the time to learn more). The creation of music, particularly the lyrics, has always been a passion for me, because I love the ability to invoke emotion with the written word, and that translates well to music as well. Couple that with the fact that I have freckles, red hair, and blue eyes, and I was kind of meant to be a sucker for Sing Street from the get-go.
However, even taking myself out of it, Sing Street is a fantastic film that manages to show us some extremely wonderful creative process shots, as well as being a coming of age film. When combined with the love story and family dynamic, you can’t help but really enjoy it. Director John Carney tells a story that’s slightly autobiographical, or at least feels that way. We have our main character Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) as he is in that most unfortunate of periods – middle teenagedom. His parents are a mess, he has to switch to a Catholic school that is all rumpus and unfortunate principals, and he has nothing really that seems exciting. But once he sees Ralphina (Lucy Boynton), he forms a band to impress her, and give her a reason to see her again – the band’s first music video.
Plot conveniences aside, who hasn’t thought of writing a song for a young woman? In fact, there are tons of famous musicians that got into it simply because of songs they wrote for girls. But it’s here that the story really picks up. Conor teams with Eamon (Mark McKenna) and here he learns how to really write music, all while under the hippy-like guide of his older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor). It’s some of these beautifully shot creations, most of which start with the simple line “Want to help me write a song?” capture the creative process in a way that I haven’t seen since the criminally underwatched August Rush.
There’s also an intense beauty to the way the different performances are filmed. Often done with a handheld camera, there is a feverish intensity to the way it is filmed. The camera pivots from the instruments to Cosmo (Conor’s new nickname given to him by Ralphina) to the other bandmates. It’s a giddy presentation of what it is to be in a band. The music they’re playing is also really good. Often indicative of whatever music they were listening to at the time, the music represents Cosmo’s growth as an artist, almost as much as his choice in clothing and hairstyle (and make-up does).
But to say that the movie is only focused on these performances is wrong. Outside of the love story, which I thought was a great example of the intensity and hopefulness one feels as a young teenage man, there is the beautiful relationship between Conor and Brendan. In one of the most angst ridden scenes, Brendan confesses that he felt like he was blazing a trail for Conor to follow. He wasn’t able to do it on his own, and he is frustrated with his lack of movement in life. This scene was as close to crying as I could have been without actually shedding tears. The brothers (the film itself is dedicated to brothers everywhere) present something that is rarely scene in movies – an older brother who believes in his younger brother, and longs for him to succeed in a way that he never could.
Overall, the music, especially the original songs, will have you bopping along for days afterward. I tremendously enjoyed this film, and hope that you will too. I’m giving it an “A+”, and say that is may have been one of my favorite movies I’ve watched this year.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"