By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, US)
“Rock ‘n’ Roll is a risk. Your risk is being ridiculed.” This risk will never be ridiculed, though, and that is the risk of making a film like Sing Street. John Canney has struck gold with this incredible heartwarming tale about music and more importantly the people playing it. Sing Street follows the story of a boy named Conor who is trying to experience escapism through the art of music to impress a girl who is still a stranger to him. Combining fantastic direction with unique dialogue and an enthralling soundtrack to create one of the best-hidden gems in the history of filmmaking. Charismatic, originality, entertaining, compelling, and addicting are all qualities that surround this beautiful story. Sing Street provides so many reasons to keep your eyes glued to its sensational narrative.
Let’s start with the technical aspects and the incredible production design provided. The setting is entirely fulfilled in this movie to where it almost fades into the background because it’s so recognizable and organic that you feel as if the filming took place in the 1980’s. This setting helps flourish this enthralling narrative that is a throwback to classic 80’s movies like Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Back to the Future. The direction is almost perfect in a sense. However, there are no unique shots that display Canney’s talent. Most of the film takes place in this compact zoom, which is so brilliant because it makes you feel as if you are there with these characters experiencing this exhilarating adventure. There are uses of fantastic zoomed tracking shots that can go unnoticeable due to these great characters.
Simon Carmody and John Canney deserved an Oscar for this original screenplay that displays so many artistic messages about youth, vocation, and a brother’s relationship. The editing and sound design are also uniquely done with very long shots placed on scenes with a focus on dialogue. Sing Street takes its time and blossoms in the art of establishing characters. There is not a character that is not provided a sense of importance to this air-tight script that flushes its narrative through music and indirect interactions through its dynamic characters. The music is incredibly toe-tapping and done with such distinctive style that it’s almost impossible to ignore its entrapping rhythm. It doesn’t distract from the characters or the narrative, in fact, it carries them and helps them flourish in this screenplay. Every original song serves a purpose in the story and acts as a building block for the character’s relationships and the plot’s developments.
The music is also made so well due to these remarkable performances from a cast that is painted with youth. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo steals the show with a jaw-dropping performance combining subtle and understated, but it’s also energetic and dynamic. It is so remarkable just like the rest of this film’s distinctive traits. Lucy Boynton is excellent as well showing off some unique skills that could make her a force to be reckoned with one day. Jack Reynor bounces back from the atrocity of Transformers to bring this powerful performance of an older brother watching his little brother find his vocation in life. Mark McKenna and the rest of the band are so comedic and colored and idiosyncratic. This film is completely flawless in my opinion with its cinematography being unique in how the film is painted with vast colors and the hidden metaphors created through a remarkable screenplay. The narrative is irresistible in its depiction of being awakened from your slumber of repetitiveness and inspiring message of going headstrong into the unknown to accomplish your deepest aspirations.
Combing its youthful and straightforward message with the artistic distinctiveness of an independent film, Sing Street stands head and shoulders above most of the films in 2016. I sincerely apologize for missing out on this enchanting experience in the theater, and I feel insulted by the lack of award recognition that Sing Street received. Sing Street earns a top 3 spot in my favorite films of 2016. Even witnessing this movie in 2017 makes me wish I had seen it inside the confines of a small theater that is overrun by people enjoying this incredible experience created by a film that only comes around every once in a while like Sing Street.