“This is your life / you can go anywhere / you gotta grab the wheel and own it, you gotta put the pedal down / and drive it like you stole it” goes the chorus of Sing Street‘s main tune, its infectiously catchy beat providing doses of pure energy to a Back to the Future-inspired prom fantasy sequence. It’s a fitting anthem for the film overall, one that looks to music as a way to escape, as a way to look forward and take control of your life. Everyone in the film is dealing with his or her own personal issues, struggling in some way or another but still finding time to unite through music. “It’s about being happy being sad,” Lucy Boynton’s Raphina says midway through, summing up life and love and the film as a whole.
It’s not exactly the most groundbreaking thematic foundation ever, but John Carney’s script commits to it with an open heart and a constantly tapping foot. It’s definitely fun watching the band form and develop its own music, but the film finds its biggest impact with the relationship between Conor and his older brother Brendan. The latter is the one who encourages the former to write his own music, to take control of life in a way that he couldn’t do himself. This isn’t a film that pretends to be all about realism–in fact, it feels like a fantasy at times–but this relationship certainly feels very real and genuine. Sing Street is a romantic and crowd-pleasing good time at the movies, and it’s anchored by endearing characters, high energy, and most importantly, good music. Drive it like you stole it.
Photo credit: Sing Street, Cosmo Films, The Weinstein Company