Time Out says
The man behind 'Once' delivers another foot-tapping, heart-strumming Irish musical tale – this time about a boy dreaming of pop stardom in 1980s Dublin
Irish writer-director John Carney’s crowd-pleasing coming-of-age musical is a synth-drenched joy and a love letter to teenage bands. Carney is the man behind Once, and with Sing Street he takes that singalong template and coats it in pitch-perfect nostalgia. In mid-1980s Dublin, sensitive teenager Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is pulled out of private school by his broke parents and sent to a rough local Catholic school where he must dodge a skinhead bully. But everything’s OK at home watching Top of the Pops.
Conor’s stoner older brother (Jack Reynor, the soul of the film, which is dedicated to ‘brothers everywhere’) doles out bedroom advice about how to start a band. "Rock’n’roll is a risk," he says, firing up a Cure record, and Conor begins to seek fellow travellers.
Like The Commitments in eyeliner, Sing Street nails the details: DIY videos shot in alleyways, dorky bandmates of questionable talent but limitless enthusiasm, and a gorgeous, unobtainable love interest (Lucy Boynton), who inspires Conor’s first song and steals his heart.
You almost expect Sing Street to be the real story of an actual New Romantic combo, so vivid are these episodes. Carney also widens out to include the drama of Conor’s separating parents. If the movie has a drawback, it’s that it turns its dreamy escapism into a full-on happy ending. Lukas Moodysson’s 2013 We Are the Best! was more honest, showing teenage music-making as the phase it so often is. But right up to its big climactic gig, Sing Street earns the applause.
Cast and crew
Maria Doyle Kennedy