‘Sing Street’ And The Wonderful Happy-Sad Feeling Of Coming Of Age

"Sing Street" is a charming ode to first loves and '80s music.

When I arrived in Park City, Utah last Thursday for the Sundance Film Festival, I did so with all of the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a first-timer. As a fan of quirky dramedies and indie soundtracks, I was told Sundance would be my kind of ~scene~ — a place where little films with big hearts make you feel happy-sad. You know, just like that feeling you get when you listen to Robert Smith sing about being alone above a raging sea on “Just Like Heaven.”

I thought I had found that feeling in Sundance films like “Other People” and “Hunter For The Wilderpeople” — films that mix humor and pathos almost at a breakneck pace — and then I saw “Sing Street,” a film so charming that it made me feel weightless. When I left the Eccles Theater, I had butterflies in my stomach. And with that, I knew I had fallen in love, slowly and then all at once. Simply put, this is a movie that will make you feel alive.

To be fair, “Sing Street” combines my love of coming-of-age movies with my complete adoration of ’80s music, so to say this film was made for me would be quite the understatement. Over the past decade, writer-director John Carney (“Once,” “Begin Again”) has carved out his own unique genre of film: happy-sad musical romance. No one understands the narrative process of songwriting, and falling in love, quite like Carney.

Unlike his previous films, however, “Sing Street” is a hopeful, nostalgic romance set in Dublin in 1985. The film follows 15-year-old Connor’s (newcomer Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) ambitious venture to pull together a ragtag band to try an impress a girl. After all, most musicians get their starts writing lovelorn songs to classmates they fancy. But “Sing Street” cuts deeper than teenage romance.

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