Having heard about all the high praises for Sing Street and seeing it’s 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I had high hopes for the nostalgic feel-good film set to the musical backdrop of 80s Dublin. While I can certainly understand the appeal – it oozes charm and it’s a great throwback to everything we loved about that period – Sing Street, unfortunately, didn’t meet all my expectations.
The easiest compliment anyone can give Sing Street is that the music is really good. It’s so good it might even obscure your view of the uninteresting characters and stereotypes we’ve seen in countless lighthearted musicals. In comparison to the director’s 2013 hit film, Begin Again, the story is remarkably simple – so simple that many might find it overly long and a tad bit unrealistic (seriously, how could a bunch of school kids with no musical experience write such great songs so easily?). Nevertheless, there is some magic below the rubble.
Sing Street revolves around a teenager, Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), who forms a band to impress a young girl. Amidst his aim for fame (or rather to win the heart of aspiring model Raphina), he also has to deal with his bickering parents, a high school bully, his overly strict new school headmaster, and his loser brother Brendan (Jack Reynor) – you know, the usual coming of age stuff. Naturally, music becomes his outlet and, after borrowing a few records from his brother, Conor masters songwriting almost overnight. What ensues is a cute story, but it’s really not overly exciting.
Aidan Gillen and Jack Reynor are the biggest stars here. Both their performances are solid and carry a lot of weight. However, I can’t help but feel that the film is missing real evidence of genius. You’ll find your feet tapping along, but your mind might drift off to other places ever so often. It’s cute, but it’s not 97% on Rotten tomatoes cute.