“Sing”-ing in the Snow

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Published on December 7, 2016

Do yourself a favor this winter. Take a brief,  much needed, 1 hour and 46 minute break from the Marvel universe… It’s ok, you’ve earned it. Grab a blanket, or someone you like. If you don’t have Netflix (or a jail broken Firestick), go to RedBox.

However you can, get your eyes and ears on the most underrated, highly rated film of 2016,

Sing Street.

No high tech special effects and no 15-minute battles over Earth, although it does take place in a mysterious, far off land and time; Dublin, Ireland, 1985.

With the birth and boom of MTV making its trek across the globe, a high school transfer student impulsively forms a band to attract at least one of the two blue eyes of a beautiful girl. Now that music has a face, the reluctant hero, Conor, attempts to discover his identity by changing his look to mirror the frontman of every band he and his new bandmates imitate. When Conor starts to write and create his own music, he begins to discover who he is. He stretches his arms wide to embrace it but there are many obstacles standing between he and the man he is going to be.  As Conor, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo seems to balance fragile timidity and gentle confidence effortlessly, and is practically irresistible while doing it.

No hero is complete without a teacher. Jack Reynor plays Brendan, Conor’s older brother. While stealing practically every scene that he is in, Brendan is the voice of reason for Conor. He was denied access to many of the avenues that his younger brother now travels, and was forced to give up on dreams that are now attainable for Conor. Brendan imparts his wisdom with a perfect mix of love and lunacy. (Side note: I see an Oscar in Reynor’s future. His magnetism and intensity are as notable as Tom Hardy’s or Michael Fassbender’s.. Just saying)

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The dream, the everything in life, and the reason for breathing in and out and never stopping is Raphina. Conor sees only her; she is the music he creates. Played by Lucy Boynton, Raphina is the breathtaking aspiring model who is perfect in every way in Conor’s eyes, yet shattered in her own. The cracks in her heart sneak out subtly and make their way onto the surface of her beautiful face, making it plain to see that beauty is only skin deep and pain is straight to the bone.

Along with the everyday trials of being a teenager, Conor is forced to deal with a tormenting bully, parents who spend all their time at home fighting with each other, and a sadistic priest who evidently honed his leadership skills by reading Mein Kampf instead of The Bible.

Like the original songs, the film is directed and written by John Carney. He has giftwrapped this change of pace in moviemaking just in time for the holidays. Unwrap and enjoy.