Hidden Gems: Sing Street
By Kyle Lee
September 26, 2017
In addition to the great original songs in the movie, the soundtrack is packed with great 80’s tunes from The Cure, Motorhead, The Jam, Joe Jackson, Hall & Oates, and even a new song sung by Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine (who previously played one of the main supporting roles in Begin Again). This movie is absolutely packed with music. Carney started out as the bass player in the great Irish band The Frames (led by his future Once star Glen Hansard), before leaving to pursue filmmaking. So he has music in his bones, and it has shown in his three brilliant music driven movies.
Carney gets the music so right, but this movie doesn’t work if the love story falls flat, and thankfully he also wrote two great lead roles in Conor and Raphina. Raphina isn’t just a pretty face, and she isn’t a manic-pixie-dream-girl there only to spur Conor’s character development. Raphina is a fully well rounded character, played in a beautifully heart felt and vulnerable performance by Lucy Boynton. She has her own arc, her own insecurities and strengths and weaknesses. And Conor loves her through all of it.
What begins as shallow infatuation with the pretty girl deepens as Conor becomes more himself and grows through his music. I’m not sure if this performance is the beginning of a career for Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, since he is a musician first, but it’s one of the great coming-of-age lead characters.
One of my favorite sequences is where Conor is trying to rehearse a video shoot at the school for a new song, inspired by Back to the Future (which none of the other students have seen). As he did in Begin Again, John Carney allows a little flight of fancy as the film gets a bit of a sheen to the cinematography and we jump into Conor’s dream version of what this video looks like. We’re subtly reminded of this in the closing moments of the movie. I won’t reveal what happens, in case you haven’t seen it, but in the final sequence of the movie, the cinematography gets that little sheen to it again. Is it all happening? Is it a dream? I like to think it’s somewhere in the middle. Like maybe there’s a bit of older Conor looking back into this moment in his life with a more forgiving filter than it might’ve really been happening in reality at that moment. Regardless of how you take it, it’s a powerful and wonderful ending to a movie that wasn’t seen by enough people, but loved by most who saw it. A true Hidden Gem.