Remember when you were lost, swimming in teen angst, and when you put on a record that black spinning vinyl acted like an oval orange lifesaver?
John Carney surely does.
The writer and director of Sing Street sweetly shares those tumultuous feelings with a 1-hour, 46-minute treat that’s part drama, part comedy, part musical and total blast.
Carney should be familiar to American audiences for his work with Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley in his music-themed semi-hit Begin Again, which let those two tussle about making great music together while Adam Levine played a singer-songwriter who turned out to be a real toad. (Which I loved enough to put on my top 10 list for 2014, by the way.)
Irish-born Carney sets this one in Belfast, in the 1985, where teen Conor’s head is sent spinning when his family loses its financial footing and he’s sent to a public school instead of his previous more cushy private digs. He’s bullied in the new joint. So, thanks to older brother Brendon, he turns to the music of the records of that time and starts a band to – you know it – hopefully catch the eyes and ears of pretty Raphina. She’s older than he by a year, oh-so-worldy as a model, and agreeable to appear in a band video.
Some has to start a band. He calls it Sing Street. They learn from the records, then learn that originality does count, in music and life.
It’s all quite good, from the Irish actors, particularly Ferdia Walsh-Peelo as Conor, Lucy Boynton as Raphina and Jack Reynor as Brendon. The kids are all right. They seem real and half-grounded, filled with despair, a bit of hope, and windows of escape to better things, just like young people their age ought to be.
The original songs, also from the mind of Carney, ain’t half bad, either, reminiscent as they are of The Cure and Duran Duran and other bands the boys are listening to at the time.
The lyrics are filled with drama. Just like their young lives. All young lives, really, no matter where you live.
Which is what makes Sing Street so satisfying on DVD now, no matter your age or location on this planet of ours.
Yeah, you had teen problems and found songs that helped you sort them out, didn’t you?
What’s your favorite kids-in-love movie, and why? What’s your favorite kids-love-music movie, and why? What was your favorite 1985 band, and why?