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European Union Film Festival 2019 (National Gallery Singapore)

Sing Street

Opening Date
11 May 2019
PG13 Brief Coarse Language
105 mins
English - subtitles to be advised
Drama, Musical
John Carney
Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy
Like his earlier films ONCE and BEGIN AGAIN, SING STREET is inspired by writer/director John Carney’s life and love for music, and tells the story of a 14-year-old named Cosmo growing up in 80’s Dublin who must break free of a home strained by his parents’ relationship and money troubles, deal with his drop-out older brother’s antics, and survive a new public school where the kids are rough and the brothers are tougher.

Cosmo writes a song, forms a scrappy band with some school mates, writes more songs, and shoots some wicked music videos. How to shoot pop videos in a recession ridden country? Beg, borrow and steal. And steal.

But when he realizes he can’t save his family, he must make a family of his own.
By Thompson  28 Jul 2016
Nostalgia is clearly the currency of our times (Pokemon Go a shining example), and it is very likely that we won't get a film this year that hits the spot better than Sing Street.
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Here is a film so inescapably funny and real it hurts. Sing Street's setting in early 80s Dublin is far removed from our sunny shores, but we are all infinitely familiar with its story. The overtold cliché: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy forms a band to impress girl. The difference is what lies between those lines.

Ferdia Walsh-Pello is Conor, a teenager sent to a rough-and-tumble state school when his financially-strapped family decides to cut back on their children's education. Here, Conor struggles to adjust to the new environment - where shoes must be coloured black and unruly students disciplined by the overbearing school principal Baxter (Don Wycherley) - but eventually falls in love with Raphina (Lucy Boynton), a mysteriously beautiful model. In an attempt to impress her, Conor gathers a bunch of fellow ragtag schoolmates to form Sing Street, a 'futurist' band influenced by the music of The Cure, Duran Duran and for a while, even David Bowie.
The camerawork sparkles. Shots don't linger beyond their welcome, and the dialogue is crisply delivered amidst the punchlines. While the film initially allows us to laugh at the free-spirited 80s cheesiness of it all, heavier themes like divorce, brotherly sacrifice and school bullying also thread the plot back to reality. It's intelligent comedy, and Sing Street makes sure that heartstrings are adequately tugged in the film's later half.

What really glues the entire film together is the music. Featuring a series of original creations mostly composed by director John Carney and producer Gary Clark, you'll be surprised at how easily hummable these songs are. Choice picks include The Riddle of the Model, Drive It Like You Stole It and Up. These are real earworms, and help elevate Sing Street to feel like a true musical than your standard comedy film.

The cast, while almost entirely unknown (save for Maria Doyle Kennedy of Orphan Black fame, who plays Conor's mother), pull off an excellent turn. Raphina's esoteric performance evokes strains from Moonrise Kingdom's Suzy - both look so similar I was convinced the actresses were one and the same - while Walsh-Pello holds his own with an earnest act that brings the chemistry of his co-stars to life. 

Nostalgia is clearly the currency of our times (Pokemon Go a shining example), and it is very likely that we won't get a film this year that hits the spot better than Sing Street. Equal parts amusing, catchy, cheesy and moving, perhaps the only way to truly describe the emotional ride is a phrase used early on by one of the characters: happy sad. Sing Street will indeed make you happy sad - when the credits eventually make their way down the screen.
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Official Trailer
Trailer #1

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