Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Mark McKenna, Kelly Thornton, Ian Kenny, Ben Carolan, Percy Chamburuka, Karl Rice, Conor Hamilton, Don Wycherley, Lydia McGuinness
Written by: John Carney
Directed by: John Carney
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements including strong language and some bullying behavior, a suggestive image, drug material and teen smoking
Running Time: 106
Date: 04/15/2016

Sing Street (2016)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Hopping on Pop

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Writer/director John Carney (Once, Begin Again) returns with another working class music film, and the results are, like before, winning and charming, if not exactly ground-breaking.

In Sing Street, teen Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is having a rough time; it's the 1980s, his parents are fighting all the time, money is tight, and his cool, older brother (Jack Reynor) has dropped out of school. Forced to go to a cheaper school, he's now the new kid, but is immediately smitten by the mysterious, aloof Raphina (Lucy Boynton).

He speaks to her, inviting her to be in a video for his band; the problem is that there is no band. So he quickly forms one and begins practicing. Miraculously, he writes a tune, "The Riddle of the Model," that sounds like it was time-warped straight from the synthesizer decade; it's this and the movie's other songs that elevate the mood.

As ever, Carney tries to establish a mood of working-class struggle, with little asides and moments rather than grand statements, and it works. Characters yearn to get to London where things may actually happen for them, but unfortunately, the trajectory of the little band seems to grow in leaps and bounds.

Whereas Conor can't afford new shoes that fit the school's dress code, he's somehow later able to buy all kinds of makeup and accessories for his new pop-star persona. But while the fantasy sometimes mixes uneasily with the reality, it's clear that it's all meant to carry us away, and that it does, with a song in its heart.

Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release nicely captures the crisp, catchy pop songs on the soundtrack; the set includes an optional digital copy, as well as brief featurettes: a "making-of," cast auditions, and interviews.

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