By Jack Dignan
I love going into movies knowing as little about it as possible, and that's exactly what I did with Sing Street. I knew it had been playing in festivals, including this year's Sydney Film Festival, but I never saw it. I didn't know who was in it, nor who directed it (that turned out to be John Carney, the man behind Once and Begin Again). But, I'd heard good things, so of course I was going to watch it. Right from the opening scene, which features our protagonist Cosmo (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) singing along to his parents arguing, it suddenly hit me that this wasn't going to be a clichéd teen musical movie. It was going to be something different, and what it was was utterly brilliant.
Sing Street is the story of Cosmo, a young teen living in Dublin, Ireland. His parents, played by Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy, are having both marriage problems and money problems, and because of this, Cosmo is sent to a local religious school. He doesn't fit in, but soon, he meets a young model named Raphina (Lucy Boynton), who he's instantly falling for. He asks Raphina if she would be interested in being in his band's first music video. Once she actually says yes, Cosmo realises he needs to start a band. Pronto.
I will admit, there are some familiar concepts throughout this movie. Concepts we've seen a handful of times before. But I really didn't care. If a familiar concept is executed well, it can lead to tremendous results. Sing Street's basic plot is essentially a boy starting a band to impress a girl. It's nothing special. But the thing is, Sing Street is directed by John Carney, so no matter how unremarkable the plot is, it's going to be one incredibly delightful film, and that it is.
The term 'crowd pleasing' gets used a lot, and I have used it from time to time. While I'm sure I've never used that term when I didn't mean it, not a single one of them have been nearly as crowd pleasing as Sing Street is. I am about 97% sure that Sing Street is one of the most loveable, joyous and entertaining movies I have ever seen. It's not perfect, no movie is, but in terms of pure entertainment and joy that's been radiated off the screen, this can't be beat. Once the credits begun, I realised I hadn't stopped smiling the entire time.
Amped up with vigorous energy and catchy tunes, Sing Street will have you cheering for joy from start to finish. It's a quirky independent movie that hits all the right beats, resulting in a film that's literally impossible not to adore. With great and relatable characters, most of whom have a surprising amount of character depth, I never wanted this movie to end. It's both funny and heartbreaking, and there's a prom scene (technically there's two) that may be one of my favourite moments of 2016.
Movies are rarely realistic. It's a well known fact. Everybody can agree on it, and while there are certain moments in a great deal of movies that really push the realm of believability, having non-realistic movies is never a bad thing. With Sing Street, there are some things that happen that would never happen in real life, especially in the third act. But, this doesn't affect the film in the slightest. In fact, it made me wish that life was more like this movie. Everything is perfect and happy in an imperfect and depressing way, and it plays out just how every person on earth would want life to play out. It's brilliant.
To sum up, describing Sing Street as a crowd pleasing and delightful movie is severely understating it. It's a movie that is impossible not to love, full of depth, loveable characters, humour, catchy tunes and promising performances from relatively unknown actors. If you're after a smile, definitely check this one out.
4 1/2 Stars