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Sing Street

In “Sing Street,” Ferdia Walsh-Peelo plays a young man who is just trying to get through one day at a time at the rough new Catholic school where his parents have enrolled him. He used to go to a much nicer school, but times are tough; it’s 1985 in Ireland.  Now, the new rector makes him walk around in his socks because he doesn’t have black shoes. Every kid in the cafeteria looks like he wants to beat up the new guy to prove how tough he is. Walsh-Peelo does his best to be invisible, innocuous, not worth their time.

That is, until he sees Lucy Boynton, a slightly older girl at the group home across the street, who stands, smoking her cigarette, and watches the boys come and go from school.  Suddenly, he is bold and courageous, convincing her to be the pretty girl in a music video he’s making for a band he hasn’t formed yet (but of course, he doesn’t tell her that.)

And off we go. “Sing Street,” is a joyful film about, among other things, the transformation of a young man from wallflower to rockstar – at least, in his own mind. But one of the things I love about this film is the way he stumbles into it; avoiding the “I’ve just gotta sing” cliche, instead we get a shaggier tale about a kid who writes a song, and then another, then discovers he’s pretty good at it, and it’s pretty fun, and, most importantly, it helps him deal.

Walsh-Peelo and Boynton have enjoyable chemistry, but theirs isn’t the only interesting relationship in the film. I loved the scenes with the much geekier Mark McKenna; he raises rabbits and can play any instrument you put in his hands, just sort of by instinct.  He’s the Edge to Walsh-Peelo’s Bono,(By the way, Bono and The Edge served as consultants on this film, so who knows how true that actually is)and watching the two of them wile away hours working out a song is magical.

And Jack Reynor steals every scene he’s in and Walsh-Peelo’s older brother, who – breaking, again, from cliche – is supportive and encouraging.  He’s part Jack Black in “School of Rock” and looks like Eddie Vedder (which is weird, since this isn’t Seattle circa 1992) and all charisma.  Keep an eye on this actor, folks. He’s been in a few good flicks already (though, unfortunately, his most visible role was in a terrible “Transformers” movie) and is poised to become a big, big star.

Director John Carney (“Once,” “Begin Again”) is quietly reinventing the non-animated, non-Disney movie musical, and all of his films have been very enjoyable.  What’s more, all of the soundtracks have been worth keeping on your playlist long after the credits have rolled. And “Sing Street” might be his best film yet.  I’ll be surprised, when all is said and done, if it doesn’t make my “Top 10 of 2016” list in July.

 

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Posted in All Reviews, by Will Krischke.

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