Before becoming a writer and director, John Carney played for the Irish band The Frames. In fact, the lead singer of that band, Glen Hansard, starred in Carney’s best-known film, 2007’s Once alongside his partner in the band Swell Season, Markéta Irglová. Made on a budget of around $150,000, it ended up earning $23.3 million worldwide. an Oscar for the song “Falling Slowly” and the admiration of Steven Spielberg, who said, “Once gave me enough inspiration to last the rest of the year.”
Carney replied, “In the end of the day, he’s just a man with a beard.”
Sing Street tells the story of Conor “Cosmo” Lawlor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), whose family is struggling so much that he’s forced to go shoeless at school when they can’t afford the proper ones for his uniform. He’s bullied day in and day out, but soon meets Darren, who becomes his manager, and Eamon (Mark McKenna), who can play any instrument. Initially, the idea of a band is just a way to win over Ralphina (Lucy Boynton, who will soon play Marianna Faithfull in Faithfull), who wants to be a model.
Soon, though, the band becomes a driving force in their lives and even allows for their bully to have a place to belong. It also allows him to bond with his borther Brendan, who teaches him what music should mean in your life.
The close of this film has always made me wonder if everything — please, don’t let me spoil it for you, so stop reading if you haven’t seen it — from the gym sequence to Cosmo and Ralphina sailing away is all just a dream sequence from a music video.
Carney hsa said, “Well, I don’t see it just as a happy romantic ending. I think that’s the tone of the piece, but I think it’s more like… they’re setting off together, that’s true, but I wouldn’t say that’s some huge relationship that’s going to last forever. They’re kids. I sort of hope the scene at the end would look a little like a fantasy sequence. You’re supposed to wonder where the reality ends and the pop video begins. But people are actually taking it very seriously, and people are presuming it’s fully real, which is interesting. That wasn’t the intention.”
If you grew up in the 80’s and dreamed that a girl would fall for you because you were on the verge of becoming a music video star, then this movie will warm your heart. Like all the best films, I wish that it was real.