Disclaimer alert: A musical directed by John Carney (Once), set in Ireland and built on affectionate skewering of 1980s MTV aesthetics might as well be custom-designed to my specifications. In 1985 Dublin, 15-year-old Connor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) responds to life upheavals—a new school, his parents’ fighting and a crush on mysterious older girl Raphina (Lucy Boynton)—by starting a band. The resulting songs are clearly far more sophisticated than a gaggle of spotty teens could craft, as Carney and co-songwriter Gary Clark provide an infectious collection of original tunes inspired by everything from Duran Duran to Hall & Oates. And Carney has loads of fun playing with the way Connor and his bandmates experiment with their “look” based on whatever new music style grabs their fancy. It’s also built on charming relationships, though—and while the central romance is sweet, there’s even more appeal in Connor’s connection with his older brother/musical mentor/life coach Brendan (a wonderful Jack Reynor). The story may meander whenever it’s not focused on the music, but Sing Street is simply lovely at conveying the beautiful foolishness of being young, in love, and moved to create.
Director: John Carney
Producer: Anthony Bregman, Martina Niland, John Carney, Kevin Frakes, Raj Singh, Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein
Cast: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Mark McKenna, Kelly Thornton, Ian Kenny, Ben Carolan, Percy Chamburuka, Karl Rice, Conor Hamilton, Don Wycherley, Lydia McGuinness and Kyle Donaldson