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John Carney has another musical delight to share with “Sing Street”

Sing Street
I’m a big fan of what John Carney does when he mixes music with cinematic storytelling. He has an undeniable talent for taking songs and using them to tell a story, as you might have noticed. Once was our first example of this, with Begin Again being another winning one. Now, Carney is back this week with Sing Street, another indie musical romantic comedy/dramedy that is as good as he’s ever been. It’s a charming and delightful film, while also having a bit more on its mind than you might initially expect. It’s a winner for Carney and easily one of my favorite movies of 2016 so far. Oh, and you can probably pencil it in for an Oscar nomination (or possibly two) in the Best Original Song category.

The film is, structurally speaking, sort of like a hybrid of Begin Again and Once. Set in 1980’s Dublin, a boy named Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) deals with his rough home life and crummy life prospects by diving into music, something his older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor) has already done. When he notices a girl named Raphina (Lucy Boynton) outside his school and works up the nerve to talk to her, it turns out that she’s a model and he blurts out that she should be in a video for his band. Thus begins a quest to form a band, which leads to them actually being pretty decent. Through it all, music becomes a way to make it through the day. Carney writes and directs, as well as pens all of the songs (along with help from Adam Levine on a track that Levine sings at the end), with the rest of the cast including Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, and more.

Just about everything works here, but Sing Street really shines when you get see how music makes life better for the characters. Not just being in a band, but writing and performing songs leads to positive outcomes, which may sound simple, but is utilized perfectly by Carney. The original tunes are all very strong, with the soundtrack itself being perhaps the best of the year to date. Carney and Levine worked on one of the original tracks and their previous collaboration in Begin Again paid huge dividends…I expect that to be the case again this time around with the Academy. Call it simply a hunch on my part.

In terms of awards, this one seems set to contend in at least one place. There will probably be campaigns in Best Picture, Best Director (for Carney), Best Actor (for Walsh-Peelo), Best Supporting Actor (Reynor), Best Supporting Actress (for Boynton), Best Original Screenplay (also for Carney), Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing, but the place to expect the Academy Awards to take notice is in Best Original Song. There’s a number of strong contenders, from The Riddle of the Model to Go Now, with a handful of other good ones in between. I think one of those two will be nominated, with both potentially getting cited by Oscar. They’re just that good, and remember, Carney has yet to miss in the category. Hell, Once won in Original Song that year, so don’t sleep on this one.

Sing Street is, without question, one of my favorite movies of the year so far, cracking the top five even at this point. You all can begin discovering it today actually in certain places (if not tomorrow), with a nationwide expansion to come later on in the month. If you like Once and Begin Again, it’s safe to say that you’re a fan of Carney’s, and as such, this is certainly for you. I’ll be reminding you about this one more over the course of the year, believe me there. Right now though, this is a must see, so don’t miss it folks…

Be sure to check out Sing Street, beginning its theatrical run this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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