Review: Sing Street (No Spoilers)

By Angel

Movie Description: 

“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.”

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  • Experience

My anticipation and expectations for Sing Street were extremely high because I was hearing this was one of the greatest films of 2016. From the title I was assuming it would be a musical and I’m not the biggest fan of Musicals unless they are done right which is very rare.

The best films that I think execute movie-musical construction exceptionally are The Lion King, Grease, The Wizard of Oz, and Beauty & The Beast. Sing Street didn’t meet those elevated expectations for me, but I was impressed with several elements. Unfortunately, I was not able to see this in theaters and only had the opportunity to check it out on Netflix. Let’s get started!

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  • Story

I always enjoy these coming of age stories because they are timeless, what makes them unique are the setting, motivations, and obstacles. Sing Street is about a teenage boy in 1980’s Dublin who falls head over heels for a girl and decides to start a band so he can get her to star in their music videos. Through this narrative, I got to see a journey of self discovery for the main character which was such a great feeling of optimism on life. The music was incorporated excellently which made it feel natural and gave the story great pacing.

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There’s also an appropriate amount of 80s nostalgia in this movie that adds a sense of joy. Sing Street didn’t hook me from the beginning, but as it began to get into the second act, I was invested enough to follow the characters until the end. I also liked some subplots that were revealed, but I didn’t think they were all executed as best as they could have been. This was a decent story with enough characters that kept me captivated enough.

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  • Performances 

Ferdia Walsh-Peelo as Connor was the standout for me because he perfectly played this insecure kid who doesn’t really know who he is or what he wants to do with his life. I absolutely loved seeing him evolve as character in relatable ways such as falling in love and absorbing himself in 80’s music culture. His light-hearted voice was perfect for the songs and the role as it represented his vulnerable traits.

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Mark McKenna as Eamon was awesome to me because I loved how passionate he was with music and he also made me laugh the most with his character interactions. He was a musical genius and seeing him collaborate with Connor as they wrote songs from scratch were my favorite segments of the film.

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Lucy Boynton as Raphina did great with what she was given. She played the love interest who had a cool exterior, but weak interior which gave her some layers. Seeing those minor vulnerabilities from the performance was nice, but I felt there wasn’t enough to truly have me connect and care for her as a character.

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  • Music

You know when you hear great music, you just know, and I definitely loved the music I was hearing in this film. The music was original, catchy, fun, and lyrically perfect. I’m currently listening to it right now and can’t get it out of my head;”She’s so indecipherable she holds the key to the missing gold just the thought of her touch my mind EXPLODES boom So desirable, time never will unfold oh Oh OH THE RIDDLE OF THE MODEL.”

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I also loved that I got to see the music created as a reflection of the main characters events and thoughts. Seeing the influences that artists received from other artists while also using personals experiences as a different way to express oneself was refreshing to see in a film. Music was crucial to Connor’s development which tied in perfectly with the plot and messages of what this movie was saying. My favorite songs were ‘Up’ and ‘To Find You.’

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  • Themes

I really loved the themes of the film, they were expressed so well. The main messages I got from this film were to explore different passions, take risks, and love. One of my favorite lines comes from Connors brother when he says, “Rock and roll is a risk. You risk being ridiculed.” As we grow in life, we have many opportunities to discover who we are and what we love to do.

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Seeing the main character become a chameleon with musical styles was a great reminder that we don’t always have one path to follow in life. If we aren’t happy, then we have to be willing to take risks in order to follow our passions that make us happy. Passion gives us reason to keep learning and work towards mastery in anything which can apply to occupation, relationships, and happiness itself.

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  • Negatives

Brendan, brother of Connor, was a great character, but I thought Jack Reynor was not the right choice for this role. I loved the relationship he had with his brother while also showcasing there was more to him than just being a typical college dropout pothead. The ending is not nearly as wonderful without this character and this movie does not work at all without him. His character is one of the most important figures in the film, and I just could not stop thinking about Reynor’s performance in Transformers: Age of Extinction.

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His accent kept breaking to english and I was not emotionally compelled during his pivotal moments. For a role like this, in order for it to be powerful, you need an actor with an insane amount of range who has the capability to tug at the heart strings. Domhnall Gleeson comes to my mind when I think about an actor who has that ability to really get me involved emotionally with characters.

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I thought the majority of the characters were underdeveloped. I definitely wanted to see the priest and his relationship with Connor more, it could have been riveting. I had no idea why the priest behaved the way he did.

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It would have been intriguing to see Connor’s parents marriage explored more than it was shown and understand what kind of people they were. What makes their love different than the love of Connor and Raphina?

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The rest of the band mates are just background noise. I didn’t get to see their personalities and wanted more interactions between the band, especially since the title of the film is referring to them. It also would have been great to see some potential tension since their formation was solely to impress a girl.

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The bully character didn’t have to be in this film.

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  • Overall

Sing Street was enjoyable for me, definitely in contention for one of the best coming of age stories considering it’s incredible theme. The film leverages it’s music remarkably to the narrative and themes. The dialogue was also thought provoking. “When you don’t know someone, they’re more interesting. They can be anything you want them to be. But when you know them, there’s limits to them.”

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I was not AMAZED by the performances, story, camerawork, and characters. It’s really the music of Sing Street and how they managed to use it effectively throughout that really made me think WOW.

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After seeing this film, I’m really certain that I want to follow my passions and just go for them, I hope you can too. I’m going to recommend paying to see this for a Matinee showing. “You can never do anything by half; do you understand that?” Thank you so much for reading my review. My rating for Sing Street is 8/10! 

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