Sing Street Blu-ray Review
There’s probably something to be said about the recent outbreak of movies and TV shows that we’re seeing lately that revolve around the 80’s. STRANGER THINGS on Netflix immediately comes to mind. The eight-episode series displays a deep affection for the decade, not only placing its story in that time period, but also using the music and continuously referencing movies during that time period. Just like the Netflix show, SING STREET is another entity showing a sincere love for the 80’s, but this one is more emotionally vibrant, and with less dimensional traveling aliens.
Much of the rock and synthpop of the 80’s was born, molded and perfected across the big pond in England. SING STREET takes place in dreary Dublin, adding to how much the upbeat music meant to those who grew up on it and found comfort in it. Conor (Walsh-Peelo) is one of those children who take solace in the music of the times. His parents are going through an extreme rough patch; his brother still lives at home and is apparently going nowhere in life, and he’s about to start life at a new school where he’ll surely be picked on for being impoverished.
If you don’t know the movie trope and somewhat real life stereotype yet, kids at British schools (or in this case Irish) are ruthless. After avoiding abuse by his classmates and taking it from his teachers instead, Conor seeks refuge in his brother’s room. That’s where Conor’s introduced to the soothing sounds of Duran Duran and the Cure. This newfound love with music leads Conor to bond with a handful of classmates over the new wave dance-rock. The band loves what they do, but find out they need to take it past playing covers. They begin to make their own music, write their own lyrics, and mimic the styles of some of the music videos they watch on MTV.
SING STREET casually introduces Raphina (Lucy Boynton), a girl drenched in everything 80’s. Her clothing, make-up, hairstyle, and attitude are straight out of a Flock of Seagulls music video. She acts as music video eye candy and the band manager. She certainly attracts the attention of the love sick Conor. And while we’ve already been acclimated with Conor’s homelife, Raphina’s is a bit of a mystery, but there are subtle clues that she comes from a good home. However it’s a home that doesn’t seem concerned with her well-being and views her as the avoidable black sheep.
SING STREET is written and directed by John Carney, who some may remember was the genius behind ONCE, another movie combining music and the human experience. While ONCE was about the will they or won’t they between two people, SING STREET is more about Conor’s relationships in life. There’s a blunt statement about not living by the rules set by others, but SING STREET is actually about finding out who you are, loving yourself, and loving those around you. Yes, the inevitable relationship between Conor and Raphina is cute, but the devolving marriage of Conor’s parents and the growing discontent Conor’s brother experiences is heartbreaking to watch. It’s a good yin and yang for the movie to balance its self on.
SING STREET, much like ONCE, highlights the power that music has to breathe life into those without purpose, the ability to mend broken hearts, and the capacity to rejuvenate the disenfranchised. Conor seems to be at his lowest at the beginning when he’s forced into an unforgiving Christian school with strict rules. The progress he makes is wonderful to watch, but the movie bears in mind that he wouldn’t be where he is by the end without the love, care, and direction of those most important in his life.
Carney was clearly an 80’s kid, writing a theatrical love letter to the generation that has gifted him such a unique writing and music crafting talent. SING STREET is a wonderful mix of 80’s singles (“Rio” and “Inbetween Days”) and original music (“Girls” and “Drive it Like You Stole It”) that perfectly mimics the style, sound and look of an A-Ha music video or Eurythmics song. I had a tear in my eye as SING STREET ended. I won’t say specifically why, but it’s refreshing to watch a movie remind us that music has, and always will, have the power to change us and others for the better.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) This Blu-ray really brings to life the dreary life of Dublin and the vibrant colors of the music videos our hero and his friends film.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) When the music carries the story, it carries it with the help of the sound mixing on this blu-ray which is flawless.
Making SING STREET (4:54): A short feature that isn’t long enough for John Carney’s stories about his own personal experiences and life that went into the filming of this movie.
Writer/Director John Carney & Adam Levine Talk SING STREET (3:25): It’s a slightly interesting since it talks about making a realistic reproduction, but I can’t shake the suspicion this is an advertisement for Adam Levine.
Cast Auditions: There are multiple individual sequences you can click on. The first is Carney talking about the casting process. The rest is audition tapes for eight characters, mainly our main ones. It’s a wonderful feature that I wish more blu-rays had. Really adds an extra level of depth to what the cast brought to their individual characters.