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Why You Should Watch 'Sing Street' – Collider.com

This Irish coming-of-age film is a must see!
Does anyone remember the Golden Globes, the Oscars, and possibly the majority of other 2016 award ceremonies calling La La Land up on stage repeatedly? Despite the confusion with the Best Film category at the Academy Awards, the Damien Chazelle film achieved massive success following its release and arguably deserved the spotlight for incorporating the old-Hollywood ambiance mixed with original musical numbers. However, there was also another film featuring sing-alongs that came out at a relatively close time frame that deserved appreciation from the masses and ended up on the sidelines. If you weren’t amongst the critics who saw Sing Street for a review, or you happened to stumble upon John Carney’s work beforehand and became staggered by its levity when music is at the core of the narrative, then maybe you haven’t seen this film before.
Set during the 80s, Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) begins to attend a public Catholic school after his parents announce that they are in financial need. One day after class, he meets a model named Raphina (Lucy Boynton) and convinces her to participate in a music video for his band. That sounds like an amazing way to cause an impression, but the truth is, Conor has yet to form a band.
The story might seem cliché and it definitely isn’t a mind-bender, but it lives out the feel-good coming-of-age narrative in a way that will charm John Hughes enthusiasts and music lovers out there. At first, Conor is the typical awkward teen that is still trying to find his footing. While watching Duran Duran’s “Rio” music video in his living room TV, he feels startled by the emerging MTV era and eager to try it out too. It isn’t a surprise that a music video becomes his excuse to attract Raphina. Little did he know that music would become an outlet of self-discovery and a drive to conquer his dreams. The character gradually learns to be vocal about his struggles with bullying and his admiration for Raphina through songwriting, channeling some of the iconic bands of the time such as The Cure and Hall and Oates.
The same happens with Raphina. In the beginning, the young girl seems to exude self-confidence wearing bold makeup looks and conquering her fears in the name of art, but the more we look into her day-to-day reality, we notice her fragility. It is Conor who helps her to reconnect with her passion for modeling and understand her capacity of following through with her aspirations.
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These characters’ growth really nails down the coming-of-age formula, which is one of the reasons why this film connects with audiences. Even though we have seen this type of story told multiple times on-screen, it strikes a core to see a character’s development in the span of two hours.
Another factor that makes Sing Street a masterpiece worth noting is the music. As Conor dives into his brother’s vast vinyl collection, his band incorporates traditional elements from what his inspiration is at that moment. For instance, when he is in his The Cure phase, they record an original song called “Beautiful Sea”, which features a similar beat to “Inbetween Days” (a The Cure track featured in the film’s soundtrack). When they record the music video for this song, Conor wears the messy hairstyle and red lipstick, just like the band’s lead Robert Smith. These subtleties will engage with music fans and even musicians, who grew up listening to these bands and lead them to reminisce about their experience discovering these records for the first time.
The music also plays out on the most important relationship present in this feature film: Conor and Brendan’s (Jack Reynor) brotherhood. These siblings couldn’t be more distinct from one another, but this ride uncovering what makes the classic bands great, is what sticks them together in a beautiful bond. Brendan is the older brother, who is evidently a stoner and a college dropout. He might seem like he couldn’t provide any worthwhile advice for his younger brother due to his conditions, but the film quickly changes our conception of him as we notice that he is just frustrated for not following his dreams in music. As he shows Conor each of his albums, Brendan teaches him valuable lessons for becoming a successful artist and hopefully having a different lifestyle than the one he lives in. It is emotional to see a brother lift up another when his reality is in shackles.
Lastly, Sing Street is able to close John Carney’s music trilogy triumphantly. Once and Begin Again both feature characters that are satisfied creating music for personal pleasure and are ok with not hitting the mainstream success, and they are also great at proving that feel-good ambience. But Sing Street brings us back to youth’s eagerness to dream big and not settle down. Through Conor and Raphina’s aspirations, viewers are fueled by their passion and gain a sense of rejuvenation when they reflect on the endless possibilities that could’ve happened after the ending credits start to come up. This is what makes this film worth watching, and rewatching. It just warms your heart and helps you to dream some more.
Now, the question remains. Why did Sing Street deserve better? Wouldn’t it be just fine as a hidden cult treasure randomly discovered by viewers through a streaming platform? Or kept as a classic amongst the Irish natives? The truth is, it's ok to be surprised by stumbling upon a feel-good like this, but it is just so underrated that viewers can’t help but feel that it has been unfairly hidden from praise from the masses. Praise that La La Land had in abundance. Even though both films drive us into a dream-filled reality, it is just disappointing that only one had the reception that it deserved.
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How can this story get any uglier?
Isabella Soares is a Freelance Resource Writer for Collider. She is passionate about teen dramas, Glee, and simply anything with a plot twist. Isabella is also an Associate Reporter for the Association of Foreign Press Correspondents U.S.A. Aside from Collider, Isabella has been featured in Stylus Magazine, the Winnipeg Free Press, and Empoword Journalism.

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