Written & Directed By: John Carney
Cinematography By: Yaron Orbach
Editor: Andrew Marcus & Julian Ulrichs
Cast: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, Kelly Thornton, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Percy Chamburuka, Ian Kenny, Lydia McGuinness, Karl Rice, Conor Hamilton
A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band and moving to London.
This film really got me. I was pleasantly surprised and massively impressed. Even if it is familiar.
It seems simple at first and enjoyable, nut as you walk away from the movie and think back upon it it grows on you. Especially your admiration for it. I might still be roaming in the afterglow.
It might be the nostalgia for me, but I loved the film. Plus as I have written many times before I am usually a sucker for a well done coming of age film as long as it has heart and feels authentic. All I ask is to be as honest and pure as the time you are chronicling.
The film is rather charming. It’s a coming of age, That feels somewhat semi-autobiographical Enjoyable as he learns new music he wears his heart on his sleeve literally by adapting the look of the bands.
The film is also a love story of family especially the bond brothers can have as protector, influence on one another and caretaker. As well as having a vice versa relationships
The film tries to show the love of music that can overtake you. Says all you want to say.
This film is just like first love. So pure and unsullied and emotional. That while there are other things happening and going around. You don’t let it get in the way or demolish it. How you just go all in and feels so unguarded.
Being in love, yet not in a romantic relationship with them, but being in a relationship with them and wanting it to be more. Early in so that it feels more like fascination as you feel like meeting them Was a blessing from heaven, as learning about them Feels Like you earned a new ability. As each admission they share feels like another clue to solving a mystery. Which they still seem to you. Where every moment with them feels like a gift. We have all Felt this at some point in our lives.
The romance that develops is so cute. Yet feels so real and emotional.
Brings back a nostalgic feel of the 1980’s even if it takes place overseas and includes the age old reaction to trying to win a girl or impress girls. Starting a band or musical career.
While having a grand time looking back at the funny looking fashions thought to be cutting edge. The music and culture. So it’s you looking back like an old picture and being able to laugh at yourself.
Though here while putting all of his attention and passion into creating music to impress a girl as well as suing his feelings for her as inspiration. Actually learning how to play, create and arrange music. That he finds actual talent in. It’s his form of poetry that usually young artists and creatives use to express their feelings. Only here it is collaborative and more grand.
How an interest can consume you. A past time or hobby can take over and become your life and influence it more than ever expected as it helps to give you focus, purpose and define you. It can also help you bond and form a circle Of friends that are like family. No matter how unlikely or unexpected.
The head priest who seems to be heavy handed and quite the disciplinarian seems here more to give the character another authority figure to rebel against. As well as being an authoritarian bully. As at home things are so dysfunctional and leveled that there is just general confusion more than Anything. Also as his parents are more distracted by their many problems. Rather than notice him and his struggles.
The film has all plenty of heart and is rather lite-hearted while also having some dark moments. Though never reaches the level of being fully cynical. Just dealing with the cruelties life has to offer. Though strangely the film is so freewheeling that while it seems like a happy film, you wouldn’t be surprised if the film took a dark turn or something terrible were to happen. To dramatically shift the film and sucker punch the audience. As usual when it comes to these types of films which balance on a tightrope of emotions.
Just watching the love, passion and creativity that the characters put into their music. We watch most of the construction and architecture of the art. Which also makes sense as his sister in the film Also happens to be studying to be an architect. She is made fun of by her brother for wanting to turn her love and talent of art into a more traditional career. While the other characters are going more for a hard to reach goal.
Though i know I have spoiled a bunch here. It is probably best to go into the film blind. Even though either way I believe you will be a victim of it’s Charms and seduction. Though it is a worthy one not one where you feel empty or fooled once it is over. As you know what most likely will happen, but still enjoy getting there. While the film is about music. The passion when it comes to any art could easily be transferred for any audience member or influence for any young person watching it. As film making to a degree gets a shout out in the many music video production scenes.
While this is more expensive and glossier then the directors previous film ONCE. Though smaller scale then BEGIN AGAIN. John Carney manages to charm audiences with stories that are generally driven by music and love of it. That help inform love stories. Here he has done it again plus made a coming of age tale. That manages to also seem like it is a film that could have been made in. The 90’s era that it was set in.
The movie reminds the audience of the film THE COMMITMENTS it could even be seen as an homage. Of course a less harsh younger version that helps that theory along with the inclusion of rabbits which could be a reference to that films main character jimmy rabbit, Also The inclusion of a skinhead thug who might be more than just scary and the casting of Maria Doyle Kennedy. As the mother here who played the talented singer in that film. Even if the director says this was all a coincidence. As with that film it is a small film that grows on you especially in the heart.
Of course the soundtrack is amazing also. Filled with songs popular at the time and also plenty of original songs throughout. Though not a musical
The songs are catchy and feel of the period and just as grand and influenced by the bass of the era. Drive it like you stole it being a particular favorite that not only helps define the film but well remembered 80’s films and their music. Reminds you of the simplicity and cutting edge of times. While capturing the excitement of the times.
The performances all around are good and convincing. As the cast is mostly teenagers. They all come off as open and honest.
Lucy Boynton, as the love interest is the scene-stealer and the character that requires the most in figuring out and performing.
Jack Reynor is also good. As he comes off as the mystical older brother. Who seems stuck and happy in his place in life, but always has a theory and philosophy to spew to help guide his younger brother. He tends to come off as an Irish version of Chris Pratt.
The film also presents a life where one believes they have problems until they are presented with someone whose problems are a lot bigger. Though the person see’s it as life the other seems it as a tragedy.
It also posits Rock n roll is a risk. going against the rules or at least challenging them. Then must punk is burning the rules or at least never learning them so you never knew you were breaking them to begin? Supposedly going with what comes natural. Though it always seems like punk is a way of Life. So it is never natural and seems intentional. Then What is hip-hop? more political and speaking out against injustices. Then knowing how to also have a good time. It also seems more about chronicling life. Like a documentary with great beats and visuals they conjure up. You can never define music completely you can only theorize about what it is about, but no matter what you say. It is your Individual interpretation. That hopefully others will agree with, but not take as a full blanket statement.
Just as there is the belief that at your greatest successes there will be others to share it with.When usually you are alone and have to share if you want others to know. So that cinema can be in itself a kind of fairy tale.
Kind of surprised by the ending by what has happened, It seems in six months to a year to be so sure of talents, but then again that is what youth allows.
This film also has a happier ending of sorts. As it also is about following your dreams. Even if it looks like it is impossible. As at least you tried and surprises aren’t necessarily mythic. This is definitely a film for dreamers and the romantics. Who often go hand in hand. This film has characters who are still innocent to a degree despite their hard loves and though life and the world really hasn’t hit them as hard or tired to crush them that reality can. They still have a chance due to the vitality of their youth and beliefs. as the film is full of hope.
It’s twee in it’s heart and might have you with a song in your heart and on it’s lips afterwards. As well as a few tears