Had I seen it before: Yes. It’s one of my favorites and I’ve already lost track of how many times I’ve seen it, even though I just discovered it within the last year or two.
What IMDb says: A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.
– No new requirements fulfilled
Why I picked it: I cannot overstate how much I love this film. I went to four different stores looking for the DVD after learning this was no longer on Netflix before breaking down and ordering it on Amazon. It is just one of those security blanket movies that I need to have at my disposal at all times. It makes me feel good. It inspires me. And the perks of having a movie blog with 14 followers is that I get a platform to share these pieces of cinema with the world.
What I liked about it: There are a lot of movies about musicians out there but this one just has a level of authenticity to it that I haven’t seen before. I’m used to Disney Channel-esque movies. There’s always one kid who’s incredibly talented but scared to show their talent to the world. Their character arc is about learning how wonderful they are and there’s a grand finale where they sing their heart out and everything falls into place.
The beauty of Sing Street is that it flips this model on its head. Connor is a just-kinda-alright singer. He can play a few chords on guitar and writes lyrics sometimes. He’s a believable version of a 15-year-old who aspires to be a musician, rather than a 15-year-old who was clearly cherry picked by Disney for this role and has probably been in showbiz since they were 8.
Yet the fact that Connor is a mediocre musician doesn’t let this stop him from forming a band and making music anyway. In this world, music isn’t this magical gift that you’re either lucky enough to be bestowed with it or you aren’t. Instead it’s just something you do, and if you do it enough, you will get better.
I also love that external validation isn’t portrayed as the be-all-end-all of creativity. Yeah, maybe Connor will go get rich and famous playing music. But then maybe he won’t. Either way, his music has helped him build closer relationships with his bandmates and his brother, given him the courage to chase after his dreams and stand up to wrongdoings, and given him a healthy coping mechanism for negative emotions. Can we just dwell on that for a second? This movie is about a TEENAGE BOY who is actually in tune with his emotions and he learns to deal with them in a positive, productive way.
Another difference I noticed between this and the Disney Channel versions of this plotline is that Sing Street portrays experimentation as a normal, healthy part of being a teenager, as well as a normal, healthy part of the creative process. Instead of all that “you just need to be true to yourself!!” cheesiness as though 15-year-olds actually know who they are, Sing Street is a proponent of phases. It’s okay to want to sound like Duran Duran this week and The Cure next week. It’s okay to put blonde highlights in your hair and decide you don’t want them later. None of this is “Connor trying to be something he’s not.” It’s Connor figuring out who he wants to be.
Also the songs are catchy as hell and everyone has Irish accents.
What I didn’t like: This is a damn near perfect movie, but there’s a couple moments that take me out of it. Just little things that have no real relevance to the plot that are included for no explicable reason.
There’s a moment when we see Eamon’s mom slamming the door to masturbate. She is an inconsequential character and this scene is utterly unnecessary. There’s also another scene where Raphina hints at being molested as a child but we never really explore this further. Neither scene really moves the story forward or enhances the plot in any way, and I got the impression that John Carney was just trying to prove he was edgy.
Will I watch it again: Yes! And I am on a mission to get as many other people to watch it as I can.