This week’s big DVD release takes us back in time to the eighties and across the Irish Sea to Dublin for the enjoyable and uplifting coming-of-age movie Sing Street.
The film follows the life and loves of the 14-year-old Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) as he faces up to a growing list of difficult domestic situations. Money is tight at home, he’s been forced to move to a tough new school, and his parents Penny and Robert (Marie Doyle Kennedy and Aidan Gillen) are on the verge of breaking up.
Into this unhappy mix comes the cool, glamorous Raphina (Lucy Boynton) who offers a glimmer of hope to a smitten young man. When Conor invites this mysterious young lady to perform in a music video for his band he’s delighted when she accepts, but also left with a problem. He doesn’t have a band.
The rest of the film details Conor’s efforts to pull together a band, and the chaos which often ensues as he uses music to both escape and change his situation. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable movie which manages to portray the reality of tough times but still comes off as seriously feel-good.
A large part of the film’s success lies with the music itself. The soundtrack and original songs are both great, providing a whistlestop tour of eighties trends through the prism of the impressionable young man.
As Conor is introduced to different sounds by his stoner brother Brendan (Jack Raynor) the noise of his band and the content of his wardrobe change to reflect each new style.
The contribution of the cast is also significant and they provide a fine ensemble performance which contains many standout moments.
The result is a celebration of the sound and culture of a specific time which manages to avoid tipping over into schmaltzy nostalgia.
It’d be hard for any Irish, music-heavy film to avoid comparisons to that classic of the genre, The Commitments.
Happily any comparison with Sing Street is favourable and the film is well worth watching.