In a year where TV ruled supreme, seeing a film that not only stuck with me after watching it, but made me want to tell others about it, was a fairly unexpected experience. Because of that, Sing Street deserved more recognition in 2016 for being one of the best movies of the year. If you're already aware of Irish director and writer John Carney's movies, most notably Once, then you understand the understated power his films can have. So while it may not have been a massive Hollywood hit, Sing Street should be receiving massive love for being such a touching and reliable movie in 2016.
In an otherwise distancing and undependable year, Sing Street brought joy — and not just because of its familiar-sounding, fun, and bouncy '80s-inspired soundtrack, although that certainly helped. With dry Irish wit and quirky humor, you'll be continually amused as you watch an inexperienced band form and a teenage love story unfold. However, that's not to say that Sing Street, set in 1985 Dublin, doesn't have its dark moments. Actually, the depressing realities of life are what frame the film (and I'm talking some truly horrifying realities potentially alluded to). Yet, the indomitable spirit of main character Conor, portrayed by the effortlessly talented Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, is inspiring in a completely non-hokey and unconventional way rarely seen in recently released movies.
After his parents (TV favorites Maria Doyle Kennedy and Aidan Gillen!) force him to change schools because money is tight, Conor forms a band on a whim to impress a girl. His brazen confidence leads to a fairly successful musical endeavor (complete with original songs written for the film), thanks to help from his older brother and newly acquired friends and bandmates.
Watching the Sing Street band channel some of the most defining bands of the '80s like Duran Duran and The Cure is oftentimes hilarious and pretty much always a thrill for music lovers. Plus, the band's focus on the new phenomenon of music videos allows the stark reality of the characters' lives to be mixed with musical fantasy. Hm, sounds like Sing Street shares some characteristics with another movie musical you undoubtedly have heard about — La La Land.
The film may not be perfect, but either is life as Sing Street is sure to remind you of. And while it has been featured on some "best of" movie lists for 2016, it has been missing from far too many year-end roundups. Perhaps it's because the unpretentious film didn't wait to be released until the end of the year like so many films do nowadays for a better chance at winning awards. Or perhaps because the film has a deceptively simple premise. Either way, don't let this underappreciated gem continue to fly under your radar. Cue up the Netflix and watch Sing Street to end your 2016 on a high note.