“Sing Street” included songs from musicians such as Hall and Oates and Duran Duran (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate).
“Sing Street” is a musical set in the mid-1980s that follows a Dublin teen Cosmo (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), who due to his family’s finical constraints is forced to switch from a private school to a public school where he meets an aspiring model, Raphina (Lucy Boynton). Enamored by her, he lies about being in a rock band and asks her to star is one of their music videos. With the advice of his older brother Brendon (Jack Reynor), and the help of new friends, Cosmo tries to make good on his promises to the model.
The most important part of any musical is, of course, the music, and when it comes to “Sing Street,” the soundtrack is hands down the best part. Each song was inspired by an 80s band or artists like Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and David Bowie, giving the soundtrack a unique sound. The songs are written by Cosmo as the movie progress and while each has its own vibe he tells his friends that they are all a part of a genre called futurist, meaning they focus on the future and purposely avoid nostalgic topics. Ironically, the entire soundtrack being based on 80s music sounds nostalgic to the audience.
“Sing Street” certainly has a unique setting and plot, and it does a great job of selling the scenario and embracing the setting, creating an intriguing and enjoyable story. Despite this, the film fails to do anything too memorable to really set itself apart from any other coming of age story. At its bones, the movie is still the tired old trope of a seemingly normal guy doing something big to impress a wild and eccentric girl. It is clear that the writers tried to combat this by bringing new themes about family, dreams, rebelling and ideas about music. However, it is the fact that they brought in so many different themes that really holds it back. By trying to address so many topics at once, the movie it does not have time to properly handle and tie them all together, which leaves a lot of loose ends and underdeveloped plots.
It is not just plot that is underdeveloped, but the characters too. Not just background characters who were meant to be static, but it is the main character who is the most underdeveloped. The audience knows so little about Cosmo outside of his family life and the band because he has such a bland personality. It is not so bad that it alienates the audience, but rather that it is hard to find a reason to root for him. And with what little is known about the character, it is hard to picture the character making the choices that he does. He seems to be missing any apparent motivation.
That being said, the movie should be commended for its amazing portrayal of the brotherly relationship. Cosmo’s brother Brandon is perhaps the best-developed character of the entire movie. His motivations are clear, and his actions fit his character. Not to mention, Brandon steals the show with lines such as, “No women could truly love a man who listens to Phil Collins.” Frankly, if more of the movie had been spent with the brother and less time spent on underdeveloped plots like Cosmo’s struggle with Brother Baxter (Don Wycherley), the school dean, it could have made the movie feel more complete.
In fact, the entire family dynamic in this movie is incredibly well done. The creators embrace the dysfunctional family trope and show a side of it that is not typically used. It is clear that the creators wanted this dynamic to be part of the rest of the story and to be part of Cosmo’s motivation, but they never seem to work it in. It becomes just another plot piece floating aimlessly in the story.
In the end, the movie is incredibly enjoyable and the songs are super catchy. The story presents some new angles on old tropes and archetypes, and while it does feel like just another coming of age romance, and there are a few risks that just did not pay off, its optimism and music will still leave one feeling good.
Final grade A-