Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Movie Review: SING STREET

Dublin, 1985. When his family decides to cut expenses because of the recession, Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), a teenager who loves music, is transferred to a public Christian school where he feels totally out of place. One day he sees a girl, Raphina (Lucy Boynton), waiting outside of the school and goes to talk to her. Deeply moved, he decides to put a band together so she can star in their music videos and also to impress her. This brings him and her and his new friends in the band into a coming-of-age tale that is as powerful as it is romantic.

I think Sing Street is the kind of movie that would enable a director to do whatever he wants next, that's how brilliant of a piece John Carney has put together and by looking at how confidently and effortlessly it manages to be alive I have now moved to the church of John Carney, despite not quite enjoying his past film Begin Again.

This is the kind of film that filled me with joy about filmmaking and storytelling, a beautiful, coherent, original, hopeful and thrilling piece that moved me throughout its duration and hasn't left my head for quite some time. This is an exemplary piece where everything just clicks and matches, be it the director being so inspired by the content, the actors giving it their all, the music being so on point it could already go down in history, everything is simply delightful and touching without ever being sugary or melodramatic.

It is hard to believe that so much is fitted into a one hundred minute frame, but I guess that it all starts and ends with these characters being so alive and so effective, in a setting so perfectly fitting, they just become these overwhelming figures that speak so intimately to us without even having to do anything. Their portrayal is so well realized and so incredibly touching it naturally brings an audience's heart to soar.

These people are first and foremost relatable, yet after that their representation on screen become so unique and especially original you don't know where to look when they are on screen. The casting department deserves a raise after having worked this out, there isn't one actor that feels out of place. Even some of the extra's work is key to the film and enhances moments to even further meaning. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo manages to play this person without ever stepping into grounds we wouldn't appreciate, yet he manages to walk on that fine line really tightly and emerge with a characterization that is as three dimensional as possible and one that will certainly stand the test of time. Yet, the real knockout here has to be Lucy Boynton. No doubt her unbelievable charm and unique beauty help build the role, but this is a performance that goes well beyond that. It is the classic performance you get a crush on and that is always the sign of really excellent work because it means you have brought your character to life in such a complete and convincing way we start to project ourselves onto her. This is inspiring character work.

And I still haven't mentioned Jack Reynor or any of the band mates. Every single one of these people is made to be on screen portraying this role, it enriches the film so much to see such perfect casting and execution. However, we cannot ignore the gargantuan work Carney has put into this and the way it comes through to us. Every action, every shot both in foreground and background, all that is going on bears meaning and development, it really shows how much passion went into this.

The visual language just flows effortlessly and you are never lost, we go through fantasies, an ensemble cast, video cutaways, it all molds into one beautiful story that has something magical about it. It moves your emotions endlessly and makes you get carried away with these people. Even the music, which often in these kind of films results as a kind of gimmick, here it is used to brilliant effect, it molds organically into the narrative and gives Sing Street that punch that truly takes your breath away, even though it can feel a little too advanced for its own sake.

The thematic exploration in the key of the coming-of-age story is pretty ambitious, the themes range from the complications of love to the wild world of teenage fantasies and dreams, exploring their reflection in reality and the very complicated and bittersweet relation that exists between them, resulting in something that literally everyone can truly be moved by. Still all of that is achieved not only by not taking away the fun of the film, it is actually integrated into that, it in fused into this energetic narrative, with very clear and logical touches, of which the result is a constantly alive film where every action has a thematic effect.

The only criticism that Sing Street might be subject to is possibly in its overwhelming romanticism. Whilst there is a point to that, I just think that the film world is realized in such a way that where it never oversteps itself and makes for the romantic side being earned rather than forced. It really does turn into almost a modern fairy tale, but it knows that and that is its aim, making the pay off so incredibly effective. There might be a little bit too much hope-fullness in the air, but it is so well portrayed it is impossible to be mad at it.

All of these abstract and probably unclear thoughts above are indicative of the power of this film: a piece that emotes even with its smallest and most insignificant moments. A truly original and unseen formula that is as inspiring as it is beautiful. One of the best films of the year and a must see for every single person.

James's Score: 8.5/10

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1 comment:

  1. I don't know why I haven't made the effort to see this yes. I didn't love Begin Again but I did Once. More than enough.