Sing Street

In 2007, writer-director-musician John Carney released one of those ronceare films that literally everyone loves. Sure, Once featured unprofessional actors and didn’t have much going  in the way of plot but the music and characters struck such a chord mostly because of the unpretentious sincerity that everyone involved seemed to bring to the project.

In 2014, Carney tried to top himself in the acoustic meet cute musical  genre with Begin Again, which had a considerably bigger budget and an all-star cast. Though not without its charms or hummable songs of its own, Carney’s second film about writing and recording songs just wasn’t nearly as relatable as his first effort, largely due to the presence of Keira Knightley and (worse still) Adam Levine.

sing street 3Carney does his best to get back to basics, returning to Ireland with mostly unknown actors, in Sing Street. Cosmo (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) has just started at a new school and, though he hasn’t made any friends yet, instantly falls for an older girl (Lucy Boynton) who aspires to be a model. Based in part on Carney’s own memories of the mid-80s, Cosmo decides to start a band inspired by The Cure, Duran Duran and Hall & Oates. For Cosmo, this project is mostly an excuse for him to film music videos starring his crush at first but the opportunity to write and play his own music soon becomes about much more. Music, he’ll soon learn, can be the perfect outlet to express his feelings about the tension between his parents, their financial troubles, and the restrictions at his strict Catholic school.

Sing Street is no Once.

Maybe that’s a good thing. While Once had a more improvised feel, Sing Street has a moresing street insightful and considerably funnier script. (I laughed myself into a coughing fit twice and I don’t even have a cold)..It is much better acted and more imaginative. The dream sequence of Cosmo’s ideal video for Drive It Like You Stole It is my favourite scene by far but there are so many perfect moments in Sing Street.

But it doesn’t always feel like a good thing.Ironically, for a movie about the agony and the ecstasy of first love, Sing Street underestimates the attachment that so many of us feel to Carney’s first attempt at the indie-rock musical. Once may not have been perfect but it felt real. Its dialogue never distracted from the story by being either too lame or too witty, it just felt natural. With more experience and a bigger budget, he has clearly made a more polished film with Sing Street. But I prefer the rawness of his first effort.

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25 thoughts on “Sing Street

  1. Liz A.

    I still have not seen Once. I meant to at one time. But music… I just don’t connect with music much, so I don’t see myself enjoying it. But I’m glad he’s found a niche for himself and the movies are maturing…

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    1. Matt Post author

      I would highly recommend both Once and Sing Street but find it hard to imagine liking either one of them if you don’t like the featured music.

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  2. Kristine @ MumRevised

    I absolutely adored this movie! I laughed myself silly when they were deciding on costuming for their first video and loved that they kept changing their looks. I thought the big brother was outstanding. ❤

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    1. Matt Post author

      I loved the relationship between the brothers too, probably more so than the young love story. I wish I could remember which parts made me laugh so hard but I remember shaking with laughter a few times.

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  3. ninvoid99

    I do want to see this as I do like John Carney’s films about music. Yes, I too hate Adam Levine. Especially for what he did to NIN’s “Closer” and as a NIN fan, he committed blasphemy and for that, he shall die.

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    1. Matt Post author

      Oh I haven’t heard that but I can only imagine. He just seems a little too sure of himself for me. I can’t imagine anyone more different from Glen Hansard.

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  4. indiefan20

    I haven’t seen any of John Carney’s films all the way through (I started Once as a young teenager but never finished it,) but I’m looking forward to seeing this one. Cute premise, and I love me some Aidan Gillen (though I know he is not the focus of the movie here, obviously) 😛

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    1. Matt Post author

      Yeah, he has a small part but he makes a strong impression. It’s apparent right from the first scene that this will be a classier production than Once. A few actors in key parts are much more experienced. I’ve loved Aiden since The Wire.

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      1. indiefan20

        Have you seen “Buddy Boy?” It’s not for everybody (my dad hates it,) but that’s the first movie I saw Aidan Gillen in and the movie that made me love him. “Treacle Jr.” is fucking amazing too, but good luck finding a copy on DVD 😛

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      2. Matt Post author

        I haven’t but I probably should because I like Aiden and LOVE movies that “aren’t for everybody”.

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      1. Matt Post author

        Oh I sure did, even more than I thought I would. I’ve loved them since high school.
        Thanks for asking. 🙂

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