Sing Street is a lovable and warm look at our capital

Niall McCann


Niall McCann

Sing Street is a lovable and warm look at our captial

I spent the last few weeks with sleepless nights and petrified days knowing the truly awful reality that the day I will have to watch the new Batman and Superman movie in order to review it is encroaching ever more steadily.

To paraphrase the comedian Stewart Lee: You could go along, see this new superhero picture and then dismiss it as utter tripe or you could just dismiss it as utter tripe and save yourself time.

Luckily for me, that day has not yet arrived and this week in Irish cinema lay a pleasant surprise.

John Carney has led a very interesting life and career so far; from the bass played in the Dublin band the Frames fronted by Glen Hansard, to the writer/ director of the popular television series RTE's Bachelors Walk to the Hansard starring musical Once, which won an Oscar for best original song and birthed an incredibly popular Broadway musical of the same name which is still playing today making everyone involved very, very rich indeed and finally and most recently his Oscar nominated Brooklyn has been part of the recent massive success Irish cinema has experienced in the last few years.

In his new film, Sing Street, Carney returns to the musical genre for a coming of age take that is as much a fantasy as anything else.

Set in an ultra sparkling and clean Dublin in the 1980's, we are introduced to Middle-class Cosmo played by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo who has just enrolled in the rough around the edges, Synge Street CBS when his fathers business (played by the omnipresent Aiden Gillen, who just might be in every Irish film ever or may even be some sort of all seeing deity of the Irish moving image, destined mournfully to be type cast in any production made on these shores) starts to suffer in an unforgiving economic climate. All the other kids in Synge Street are merciless bullies.

What's more the teachers are even worse. The Brothers are unspeakable.

After Cosmo meets a beautiful mysterious girl in the school played by Kelly Thornton, he decides to forms a rock band to impress her. As Freud once said, or wrote, the reason men become artists is to impress women and here is no different.

Dublin here is a far cry from what anyone who was ever in Dublin in the 80's, 90's or even recently would recognise but the world rendered here is so loveable and warm hearted that it would be wrong to flag this as a huge problem.

This is not the Bicycle Thieves and the fantasy world we are presented with is close to that the overactive fervent imagination of a teenager might concoct.

Following on from his films Once and Begin Again, Sing Street operates in a similar good natured unapologetically romantic way, were in any real nastiness is soon vanquished.

It is a sort of heightened reality we recall from the classic Hollywood musicals of old.

The catchy new wavy songs are written by Carney himself along with Gary Clark and allow normally taciturn shy teenagers to vividly express their true feelings to one another and the ending is so audaciously romantic that it would be sickening if it were not for the good will built up in the previous scenes.

The young cast are excellent throughout and there is real humour and pathos here.

The reviewer found it refreshing to not have to watch intense misery, suffering and sadness on a cinema screen for once and this good natured story is perfect for anyone who wants a little bit of romance along with plenty of laughs.

3 out of 5