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Sing Street Is The Most Delightful Film You'll Watch This Year

Nasri Atallah By Nasri Atallah Published on May 29, 2016

Irish filmmaker John Carney (Begin Again) is on top form as he returns with a musical indie coming of age story set in 1980s Dublin. While the story might not be original, it is told with such boundless optimism and melancholy that you cannot help but be moved by Cosmo’s musical journey through his parents’ divorce, the brutality of Catholic School and towards Raphina, the girl who can’t wait to get off the island aided by lofty dreams of a modeling career in London. This is also a journey that transforms him from raffish schoolboy to a miniature Ziggy Stardust. 

The supporting cast is phenomenal, doubly so given how precocious they all are. And the music is sensational, from the tributes to The Cure and Duran Duran, to the original music. Ordinarily, when pop songs are written for film, they miss the mark, devoid as they are of purpose or meaning. But in this case, almost the entirety of the songs could be standalone hits. It’s the first film in about 15 years that has compelled me to purchase an Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. 

On occasion, the film does edge towards the over-sentimentality present in so many films in the genre, but it never quite gets there. You could even argues that its familiar plot is a pop trope in itself, songs often requiring a certain familiarity to draw out emotion. In the end, Carney keeps the story firmly focussed on the transgressive and transformative power of art in general and music in particular. It is also a story about brotherhood, and on exiting the cinema, eyes swollen from a few tears here and there, my friends and I had a long conversation about our relationships with our siblings. 

In a time where indie films like this are getting harder and harder to make, it is comforting to know that when they are they made they can be as brilliant and moving as this.

British-Lebanese author and media entrepreneur. My writing has appeared in The Guardian, GQ and Brownbook amongst other places. Author of Our Man in Beirut (2012) and currently working on a ... Show More


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Agreed. I just watched this on DVD and heartily wish I had made it to the cinema. I thought it struck a perfect balance of poignancy and humour. As you said, the sentimentality pitched in homage to the 80s Teen movies. The final words, 'for brothers everywhere', killed me.
A triumph.