Sing street tells the story of a teenager called Conor who sets up a band in order to attract a beautiful girl named Raphina that he met on the street. This is John Carney’s third independent musical film since Once & Begin Again. The soundtrack was composed by Danny Wilson frontman Gary Clark, and Carney, Ken and Carl Papenfus of the band Relish. Adam Levine also co-wrote and sings on the track “Go Now”.
By narrating the conflicts of Conor’s family and the problems he had in school, we are able to see that the aim of the film is to represent how society and family can repress people’s hopes and dreams. One of the most obvious examples in the film is when Conor’s brother, who was supposed to set up a band sadly gives up his dreams because of the pressure of his parents and society. When Conor leaves to become a musician, his brother is at first very angry but then relieved.
The music of Sing Street is not perfect, but fits the development of the story. At first, Conor had no idea about music or rock and roll. His brother was his teacher every night: boosting his musical knowledge and giving him advice. We are able to see Conor’s progression from musical amateur to professional band, which certainly made me dance by the end of the film.
Some of the staff working on the film were concerned that these young actors would not understand 80’s music well, seeing as music is a such a vital factor in the film. John Carney’s answer in an interview showed his confidence in the actors: “I was born in 1972, for the ’70s and ’80s, I understand. Kids born in 2000 or 2002 or whatever, their relationship with the ’80s is purely idea-based, all based on what they see on the internet. What I figured they had was huge black holes of knowledge that I tried to help fill in a little bit, just to explain how the decade worked, the timeline of certain musical events. Their understanding was very patchy. But they loved the look, they loved the music, and they loved the craziness of the ’80s. They just needed a lot of gentle research, let’s say, into the decade.”
Overall, in my opinion, the story of Sing Street is too simple. The director focuses too much on Conor’s love story and ignores how the band members grow and mature over the period. Also, the ending was quite sudden and was not smooth enough for me to accept. Compared to John Carney’s Once and Begin Again, Sing Street is lacking in the psychological description of characters and it was hard for me to have empathy with Conor.