by Alejandro Turdó
Being a teen from the slumbs in 1980s Dublin, ruled by the economic misadventures of the era might have been definitively rough… try adding falling head over heels for the prettiest girl in town to the equation. Another (off-competition) review from the 31st Mar del Plata International Film Festival.
Just like with Once (2007) and Begin Again (2013), John Carney revisits some his favourite tropes in his new feature Sing Street (2016). We usually hear movie mongers say that every story needs to have a love story, it couldn’t be any closer to the thruth in this case. Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is a teen going thru some deep familiar issues -fueled by the raging economics of the era- while starting over in a new school and being a complete fish out of the water.
The plot sets in motion when Conor meets Raphina (Lucy Boynton), a gorgeous girl he falls in love with. Having no other way to impress his brand new crush, Conor tells her that he’d like to use her for an upcoming musical video alongside his band… just one small detail: Conor doesn’t actually have a band or know the least thing about music whatsoever. So this little white lie puts him under the challenge of getting some guys togheter an make some music, anyway possible.
Hal & Oates, Duran Duran and The Cure are some of the fundamentals in the musical universe created by Carney, one ruled by the glam pop style that peaked in the mid-eighties. Apart from the well known bands of the era, there are some amazing tunes written specially for the film, a couple of catchy songs that uplift anyone’s spirit.
This is an all kids universe. Adults don’t pay any significant role or contribute with any words of wisdom, so the point of view always focuses on the teens fears, dreams and expectacions, making the coming-of-age experience on screen charmfully warmer.
The growing pains of adolescence is a subject widely covered in cinema, but in this particular case the music and fashion of such a defining moment in Pop history stimulates the nostalgia and shines a light over a country known for being rather crude and grimm, introducing us to a story with a lot of heart… and beat.
Alejandro Turdó / Writer (CABA, Argentina – 1982) Ale got his degree in Image & Sound Design at Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) and is also a Technician in Audiovisual Post-Production. For year’s he’s been a critic for EscribiendoCine and A Sala Llena, a certified Rotten Tomatoes critic and a Redactor of Digital Content. He talks film at http://www.radioborder.tv.