Writer-director John Carney knows better than most how to infuse a story with song. The Once and Begin Again director returns with Sing Street, a 1980s coming-of-age tale about an Irish youth who embarks on a musical awakening and forms a band after asking a beautiful girl to star in his music video.
That youth (newcomer Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), who eventually adopts the name Cosmo, is a kind soul who must change schools after his parents fall on hard times. His inability to purchase new black shoes immediately gets him on the wrong side of one of the Brothers, while his unassuming nature makes him a target for local toughs. Still, it’s no time before his crush on Raphina (Lucy Boynton) prompts him to find some musical mates and start a band. His college-dropout elder brother, Brendan (Jack Reynor) guides Cosmo on his musical quest.
From Duran Duran to M to The Cure and on and on, Cosmo learns what it is to connect, to create art and to feel through the music of his generation. As his musical horizons broaden, so too do his ambitions. We watch as he comes into his own and learns to stand up to his antagonists. It’s a sweet, simple trajectory that could feel tired, but instead feels like exchanging stories with an old friend.
The young cast has great chemistry and their triumphs and challenges are of the universal, timeless variety. Slipping into the story is as fast and easy as falling asleep. Adding to the fun are a selection of original songs that are undeniably catchy. The film’s soundtrack is well worth a listen for the blend of originals and period classics. Sing Street is often uproarious and sweet and it’s pretty near perfect. Honestly, there’s not much to say about Sing Street apart from you really, really ought to watch it.