Sing Street Review
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Anyone who’s ever created their own mixtape—or even a special playlist—knows that music is a powerful thing. Music can change your mood or transport you to a different time and place. And in John Carney’s latest, Sing Street, it brings joy, hope, and even romance to a bunch of awkward teenagers.

Sing Street takes place in Dublin in 1985. Due to Ireland’s economic downturn, 15-year-old Conor Lolor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is forced to attend rough and unruly (but affordable) Synge Street School, where he immediately attracts the unwanted attention of the school bully. In order to impress aspiring model Raphina (Lucy Boynton), who lives at a home for girls across the street from the school, Conor gathers a bunch of misfits together to form a “futurist” band. And the music that they write—and the videos that they film—help to take Conor’s mind off the growing disharmony at home.

  
 
When the guy who made Once makes another movie, fans expect drama and music and easygoing charm. Some might say, in fact, that Carney is stuck in a rut, since all of his films are about aspiring musicians. But, really, it’s hard to complain when he keeps making musical movies that are this much fun.

Sing Street is a playful, retro story—a film that uses a wide variety of ‘80s musical styles to elevate its characters beyond the drama and drudgery of their everyday lives. Because of music, these quirky Dublin teens can be artistic and interesting and even hopeful. They can express their feelings and discover their identity and dream of bigger, better things. And they do it all in a way that’s funny yet earnest and altogether lovable. No matter what these kids face, from bullies to broken families, their story is still strangely upbeat—and often just plain joyful.

There’s just so much to love about Sing Street: its wide-eyed innocence, its retro style, its ‘80s soundtrack, its clever creativity. The characters are cute and quirky—from tough would-be model Raphina to the adorably awkward musicians to Conor’s college dropout brother, Brendan (Jack Reynor), who acts as the hopeful rock star’s musical mentor. It’s a good-looking film, too—with settings that may remind you of a classic U2 video. And, in the end, it may just make you feel like you’re ready to take on the world.

Sing Street is a movie that you just can’t watch without smiling and singing along. If you love ‘80s music and/or lovable coming of age stories, don’t miss this one. It’s the most delightful, uplifting film that I’ve seen in a very long time.

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