Is there any decade more divisive than the 80’s? Actually, no sooner had we typed that then we realised it’s a daft question, for any human being with an ounce of taste and decency generally reviles the decade with a passion normally reserved for mass murderers and Conservative politicians. Prepare to have your taste and decency challenged.
Sing Street is from the same writer/director responsible for Once, the much-lauded, low budget Oirish musical that ought to be infuriating but is actually totally charming. So on paper Sing Street, also low budget, also set in Oirland, sounds like a calculated Once Mk. 2 and should definitely be infuriating.
Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is fifteen and the new boy in his Dublin school. He’s also nice, intelligent, naive and wearing the wrong colour shoes, just the thing for attracting the resident school bully who accosts him in the toilets on his first day. He also encounters the gorgeous Raphina (Lucy Boynton), an exotic older (by one whole year, so at least 25 in teen-years) woman who hangs around opposite the school gates, smoking enigmatically, weighed down by hoop earrings and hairspray. To impress her, Conor announces he is starting a band and invites her to star in their music videos. So now all he has to do is actually start a band. And make some videos. Easy.
Helped along by his music obsessive older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor), assorted classmates and religious observation of Duran Duran on Top of The Pops, his unlikely venture soon starts to take shape. From rudimentary practising in a classmate’ s front room they sharpen their musical skills, start writing songs and finally hit the big time with a headline spot at the school disco.
Sing Street, darn it, is funny, sweet and totally charming. It captures the naivety, innocence and exuberance of being 15, where the school gates, youthful crushes and dressing like Spandau Ballet are the entire world. This is mostly down to the endearing cast, who play their roles with optimism and a total lack of self-awareness. But it’s also down to the soundtrack, for Sing Street has somehow managed to prove that yes, good music DID come out of the 80’s – The Cure’s In between Days a case in point. A joy from start to finish. Go see.