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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

Gritty Hughes

Jorge Ignacio Castillo
Published Thursday May 12, 06:15 pm
Two brothers, a band, a girl and the 1980s. Cool.

Sing Street
Roxy Theatre (Coming Soon)
3 out of 5

Weaving music into a film is a dicey proposition, particularly if your goal isn’t to make a full-on musical. John Carney has succeeded at this twice with Begin Again and Once (which won a Best Song Oscar for “Falling Slowly”). His third movie, Sing Street, fits nicely into Carney’s filmography, but fails to rise above his past efforts.

Populated by a troupe of talented newcomers, Sing Street takes us to Dublin in the 1980s. Cosmo (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is going through a difficult time. His family is sinking in poverty and divorce is on the horizon. The teen is taken from the comfort of a private school and dropped in a public one. Bullies and teachers pick on him and not a day goes by without some incident. The tipping point: a pretty girl (Lucy Boynton) living across the street.

Cosmo’s reaction is not the obvious one. The kid puts together a pop band to impress his crush and distract himself from all the drama surrounding him. His main support is his big brother Brendan (Jack Reynor, making us forgive him for Transformers 4), a college dropout with enough presence of mind to protect his sibling, if not himself.

No matter the band’s ups and downs, the spine of the film is the relationship between Cosmo and Brendan. For once a movie portrays brotherhood with affection. There’s teasing and some jealousy, but not for a second do you doubt the siblings have each other’s best interest at heart. Reynor and Walsh-Peelo are superb as the brothers — the latter even adopts different personalities throughout the movie with the same fundamentally decent core.

The music created for Sing Street isn’t as strong as Carney’s previous films. But it’s well suited for a teenage band in the ’80s, with one or two tunes bound to get stuck in your head. Other than that, the film provides a good, nostalgic time, like a grittier John Hughes movie.

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