Friday, May 20, 2016

Sing Street (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Sing Street” Is Musical Romance Set on Synge Street
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Have you ever tried to impress a girl? You know, like when you were in your teens. Strange creatures, those young females. Certainly more worldly than us awkward, pimply faced boys. At that age we’re attracted to, but frightened by, members of the opposite sex at the same time.

In “Sing Street,” that’s the situation a young Irish lad faces. As director John Carney describes the plot, “It’s about a boy starting a band in order to impress a girl.” Carney swears it’s semiautobiographical.

“Sing Street” is currently making music at Tropic Cinema.

So how does Carney tell his story? Our boy -- let’s call him Conor Lalor -- lives in Dublin. Because of tight finances, his folks transfer him from a fancy school to a free state-school located on Synge Street. (Okay, now you get the film’s title … with the reminder this is a musical.) Conor doesn’t fit in too well: he gets off to a bad start with the school principal, has a run-in with a bully, and meets the girl of his puerile dreams.

What to do? Try to impress the girl, of course. By bragging about your non-existent band.

Maybe she’d like to appear in your music video? Oh, she does. Then you’d better organize a band fast.

Fortunately, Conor has a couple of guys who are willing to be in a band. And they have some musical instruments. And his brother gives him some good advice about originality. And the girl gives him a nickname: Cosmo. Next thing he knows, he’s cool.

For “Sing Street,” John Carney cast a bunch of unknowns: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo takes on the role of Conor/Cosmo, even launching a real-life musical career on the shirttails of this movie. Mark McKenna and Ben Carolan are his musical mates. And Lucy Boynton is the girl.

Maybe art imitates life. Maybe John Carney’s brother did give him some good advice when he was a teenager trying to impress a girl with a band. At any rate, the film carries an appreciative dedication: “For brothers everywhere.”

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