After huge success with Once and the criminally-underrated Begin Ahead, writer/director John Carney returns for more feel-good cinema with a healthy dose of heart. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo plays a teen schoolboy in Dublin during the early 80s, who is forced to relocate to a new school after marital and financial problems hit his parents (Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy).
Struggling to fit in at first, he soon cheers up when he crushes hard on teen-dream Raphina (an excellent Lucy Boynton) and decides to form a band to impress her. Taking advice from his big brother (Jack Reynor) and best mate Eamon (Mark McKenna), what follows is a wonderful coming-of-age tale of love, loss and hope with a brilliant, toe-tapping soundtrack. Mixing established classics from the likes of The Cure and Duran Duran with originally composed gems, Sing Street provides one of the best, most euphoric cinema atmospheres you’ll experience all year and a must-own soundtrack.
Once and Begin Again proved that Carney knows exactly how to craft a music-based story and Sing Street is another shining example of his ability as a writer and director. Filling his story full of exceptional new talent, the narrative is superbly paced. Making his characters have a real purpose in the film adds to the authenticity of the story. This is a knowing nod in the direction of the classic coming-of-age stories of the past too, where supporting characters were just as important as the leads. They all come together beautifully (much like the band in the film).
The chemistry between the cast is exceptional with Walsh-Peelo leading the line very well. Lucy Boynton easily convinces as the girl of his dreams, with Carney perfectly capturing that spark of magic when true love blossoms. Both Boynton and Walsh-Peelo make a great onscreen couple. Mark McKenna perfectly conveys the best mate we all had at school while Jack Reynor hands in yet another brilliant supporting turn. Aidan Gillen classes up any movie he’s in and even Don Wycherley makes the token villain fun to watch.
Playing as a brilliant feel-good comedy-drama, Sing Street is a very welcome and pleasant surprise. Managing to capture the essence of the 80s with all of the ingredients that go into the best, timeless coming-of-age movies from the past, John Carney has created a crowd-pleaser that guarantees you a great night out at the cinema. Look out for more from this brilliant young ensemble too – they are sure to become household names soon.
Cast: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Mark McKenna, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Don Wycherley Director: John Carney Writer: John Carney Released By: Lionsgate Certificate: 12A Duration: 106 mins Release Date: 20th May 2016