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Y’All Need to See Sing Street

Y’All Need to See Sing Street


[This piece originally appeared in a slightly different form on Simple Tricks and Nonsense.]

I feel like I’m late for the party on Sing Street, as it’s been making its way around the U.S. since April, but if you haven’t heard of it yet, take my word for it: you will. And if you haven’t seen it yet, you should.

An Irish import directed by John Carney (Once) and filmed in Dublin, Sing Street is a rare cinematic treasure: a movie that is both joyous and poignant, fanciful and authentic, with an ending that is exactly what you need it to be without it feeling predictable. In a nutshell, it’s the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who forms a band to impress a girl and escape from the grim realities of his daily existence, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a love letter to the mid 1980s and the synth-pop music videos that dominated MTV at the time. It’s also a slice-of-life picture about a gritty urban school milieu that is no more. It’s a comedy-drama about brothers and brothers in arms, as well as the struggle to find yourself in spite of the petty bullies who want to squash your spirit. And it’s a clear-eyed depiction of young romance. Mostly it’s about that time in everyone’s life when you feel both hope and disappointment more keenly than you ever have before and ever will again.

This is the kind of movie I sometimes see and think “I wish I’d written this,” while secretly fearing that I don’t have enough talent to pull it off, at least not this well. The music is great and the evocation of 1985 is spot-on, as is the casting. It’s refreshing to see a movie about teenagers in which the actors actually look like teenagers. And I’ve got to say that Lucy Boynton, who plays the mysterious older girl who claims to be a model and catalyzes the entire plot, is some kind of amazing:

Lucy Boynton as Raphina in "Sing Street"

When I was a teenager, I’d have become a musician for her myself.

Sing Street is charming on every level. Don’t miss it.

Oh, one final note: the makers of this movie must’ve cleaned out every vintage clothing store in the UK to find all that acid-wash. Wow…


Jason Bennion Some years ago, one of Jason Bennion's friends jokingly accused him of being "an analog kind of guy lost in a digital world." Jason liked the sound of that and promptly turned it into his personal motto. A curmudgeonly champion for all things nostalgic, he still unironically loves the pop culture he grew up with in the 1970s and '80s: the original Star Trek, the pre-Special Edition Star Wars, the version of Battlestar Galactica that featured a chimp in a robot-dog suit, and laid-back TV detectives with mustaches. He doesn't like the term "cheesy," and he doesn't believe in the concept of "guilty pleasures." Jason's non-media interests include classic rock, classic cars, travel, history, manned space flight, and creative writing. He collects stuff of all descriptions, ranging from concert t-shirts to action figures to movies and music recorded on good old-fashioned physical formats. His personal blog can be found at www.jasonbennion.com. And yes, he does like pina coladas and gettin' caught in the rain.