For Reel

Sing Street (2016)
May 28, 2016, 7:08 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: John Carney
4.5 Stars
Sing StreetEven if writer-director John Carney has maintained a fixation on music as a way of bringing people together, his latest film feels very different from where he started with Once. Whereas his first feature was a small, quiet drama that hit its emotional notes slyly, Sing Street embraces the artifice and self-consciousness of 1980s entertainment—both the irresistibly corny harmonies of the pop songs and the fantastical, romanticized version of what it means to find oneself. Only through this lens is the third act tolerable, which reaches an emotional apex and asks audience to stay at that point for another few sequences. If the ending is the only part that doesn’t entirely work, just about everything else does—the music is terrific, and the young actors are wisely cast, giving shorthand characterizations just through their appearances. But the best thing about Sing Street is that, at its heart, it is a film about family. The ending title card dedicates the film to brothers everywhere, and sure enough the relationship between the young protagonist (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) and his intellectual, stagnating brother (Jack Reynor) has a beautiful sense of tenderness. Furthermore, if the bickering parents (Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy) seem too-glossed over for much of the running time, there is a concluding grace note that carries with it a deep sense of empathy. Even at his most overtly sentimental, Carney is an unmistakably proficient storyteller, who in a single shot can allow one to understand the most complex of relationship dynamics.

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