Sing Street: 2016’s Overlooked Gem

As the Academy Awards steadily approach, it’s time for both critics and audiences to reflect on the past year of filmmaking and consider the possible victors of this year’s awards. Most people will start comparing big-name films like La La Land or Captain America: Civil War in several categories. However, I can’t help but hold onto my hopes – and my worries – regarding a great movie that flew under the radar this year. It wasn’t exactly the most hyped film of the year, but I do maintain a dear fondness for a certain movie called Sing Street.

I remember seeing the trailer for Sing Street once and thinking to myself, “Hey, that doesn’t look too bad. I’ll probably end up seeing that one.” Shortly after that, I had almost completely forgotten about it. That was until I found it on Netflix one day and decided to give it a shot. What I ended up seeing very much exceeded my expectations, and I ended up watching it several times more after. To summarize the rant that’s about to follow this paragraph: I loved it.

It may seem like just a niche indie movie, but there are many things that set Sing Street apart from the rest. The story revolves around a kid who makes a band to impress a girl. This basic synopsis may sound bland and cliche, but the execution is anything but. The main character’s dysfunctional home life and with the hectic chaos of the school he’s transferred to create interesting dynamics to separate the main storyline and the riveting side plots. And the pacing is amazing, it’s fast enough to move the plot along and not bore the audience, but it’s slow enough to be able to keep up with the events. It’s easy to follow, interesting, and not to mention funny. Even though it has dramatic elements, it still manages to be a comedy throughout.

Not only is the story well written, but the characters are, too. Every character is well fleshed out, and even though most of their backstories aren’t established, the viewer can understand the character’s motives and personalities very well. Also, the characters that are meant to be likeable are. There’s no obnoxious dialogue that might make an important character an annoyance to listen to. It may sound like an obvious necessity, but a lot of movies manage to fail in this department, whereas Sing Street manages it better than most films are capable of.

Another element that helps give Sing Street a personality of its own is the tone. The film is set in 1985 Ireland, and everything from the sets to the costumes to the soundtrack help support this. For example, seeing the denim jackets over school uniforms and slicked back hair-do’s of all the background characters while hearing The Clash in the background makes the scene feel like it’s really taking place in that time period, and it makes the setting even more encapturing.

And with the main character making a band and all, there are plenty of original songs that are both great at developing the main character’s emotions for the plot and are generally fun to listen to. The band’s songs are also very, very catchy. My friends and I had them playing in our heads for weeks after watching it, but it didn’t make us get tired of the soundtrack. I can still listen to it over and over and enjoy it every time.

Without going into too much more detail about every little thing I loved, some other ways that Sing Street excels are: cinematography, shot composition, humor, great actors, rewatchability, and character dynamics.

As much as I love this film, I do have some worries about it. It didn’t do too badly in the box office, but that doesn’t mean it was truly recognized as the movie it is. I really don’t understand why this movie isn’t more well known. I probably would’ve never seen it if it wasn’t on Netflix’s “New Releases” section, and I’m afraid that’ll be the case for many people. I desperately want Sing Street to win even just one Oscar if it means that more people will give it a try. That’s why I’m urging you, if the story sounds even a little bit interesting to you, give it a watch. It’s really a great movie, and hopefully afterwards you’ll be able to agree that it deserves more recognition.

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