Writer-director John Carney has done it again. He follows up critically acclaimed Begin Again with the Irish-based Sing Street. It’s somewhat autobiographical for the Irish director in some regards.
Carney’s screenplay is based on a story written by him and Simon Carmody. In Sing Street, Carney has put together a cast that stars Lucy Boynton, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Aiden Gillen, Jack Reynor, Kelly Thornton, and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo. Also cast in the film are Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, Percy Chamburuka, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rice, Ian Kenny, Don Wycherley, and Lydia McGuinness.
Set in the 1980s, the film focuses on Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo). He’s going to a new school while his parents are having some trouble with both their relationship and money. Shortly after starting at the new school, he meets Raphina (Lucy Boynton). She’s very beautiful and Conor would like to have her star in his band’s music video. There’s just a minor catch: he doesn’t have a band.
With the help of some friends, Conor, now Cosmo, starts listening to whatever rock music is trending during the 1980s so as to write lyrics and shoot some music videos.
Conor is interested in Raphina but she has a boyfriend. This causes some problems as he tries to pursue her. His romantic interest in her is mixed in with the 1980s musical foundations of many talented bands from the UK along with his family’s own problems, too.
Gary Clark was brought on to write original songs with Carney for the film that blend in with the rock music of the 1980s. It’s no surprise that these songs are well-written. Some of the styles are in the mode of Duran Duran, Hall & Oates, Cure, and Elvis Costello. One of the show-stopping tunes is Drive It Like You Stole It. The soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal. The motion picture soundtrack is available now and also includes songs that were not heard in the movie.
Music is a great escapism and it’s no different in Sing Street. Carney is no stranger to musical movies and this one is no different. Carney uses his own history as experience. He made the move from private to public school just as the lead character does in the film. For him, this is a film he considers to be “genuine and personal.”
An official selection of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and distributed by The Weinstein Company, Sing Street opened in mid-April and is currently playing in theaters.