Sing Street

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Sing Street
Sing Street poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Carney
Produced by
Screenplay byJohn Carney
Story by
  • John Carney
  • Simon Carmody
CinematographyYaron Orbach
Edited by
  • Andrew Marcus
  • Julian Ulrichs
Distributed by
Release date
  • 24 January 2016 (2016-01-24) (Sundance)
  • 17 March 2016 (2016-03-17) (Ireland)
  • 15 April 2016 (2016-04-15) (United States)
  • 20 May 2016 (2016-05-20) (United Kingdom)
Running time
106 minutes[2]
  • Ireland[3]
  • United States[3]
  • United Kingdom[3]
Budget$4 million[4]
Box office$13.6 million[5]

Sing Street is a 2016 Irish musical coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by John Carney from a story by Carney and Simon Carmody. Starring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Aidan Gillen, Jack Reynor, and Kelly Thornton, the story revolves around a boy starting a band to impress a girl in 1980s Ireland. It is an international co-production between producers from Ireland, the United States, and United Kingdom.

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 24 January 2016.[6] It was released in Ireland on 17 March 2016,[7] in the United States on 15 April and in the United Kingdom on 20 May.[8] The film received positive reviews from critics, grossed $13 million worldwide and was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the 74th Golden Globe Awards.


In south inner-city Dublin in 1985, Robert Lawlor is struggling with his architecture practice and his marriage, and drinks and smokes to excess. At a family meeting, he announces that in order to save money he is taking his youngest son Conor out of his expensive fee-paying school and moving him to a Christian Brothers school, Synge Street CBS, which Robert asserts is of equally high repute. Conor's older brother Brendan ribs him about the change as well as about the state of the family unit.

Conor appears in school on the first day in his new uniform, but without the regulation black shoes. The school principal Br. Baxter, takes him to task for this despite Conor's pleas of being unable to afford new black shoes, eventually forcing him to complete the day shoeless. The shoe problem is resolved by painting the shoes black using paint from the art room. An encounter with the school bully, Barry introduces Conor to Darren, an ally and budding entrepreneur. When Conor tells the beautiful aspiring model, Raphina, in order to impress her, that he needs a model for a music video his band is making, Darren agrees to manage the band and introduces him to multi-instrumentalist Eamon.

The band practices in Eamon's living room, playing a bunch of 1980s covers. Conor, however, has a sibling-induced epiphany when Brendan encourages him to drop the covers and develop the band's own style. He begins writing original songs with Eamon, describing themselves as "futurists." The band film their first music video for their song "The Riddle of the Model", wearing a motley assortment of comical costumes, with Raphina acting as ingénue and makeup artist. Conor goes into school the next day wearing make up, he gets called into Baxter's office and told to remove the makeup. Conor refuses and as he walks away Baxter grabs him forcing him into the bathroom and forcibly removing the make up by pushing his face into a sink. Raphina gives Conor his nickname "Cosmo", which she says is more in keeping with his new band's image and the band continues to write and record new songs. After spending the day filming a music video for a new song, Conor and Raphina kiss and exchange confidences. Conor also manages to stand up to Barry by pointing out the insignificance of his life as well as his own, which greatly upsets Barry.

At home Robert and Penny's marriage is falling apart, while Raphina and Conor's relationship blossoms. Conor takes Raphina out to Dalkey Island in his granddad's motor cruiser. Here they view the car ferry leaving Dún Laoghaire for Britain and discuss Raphina's dream of leaving Ireland for London.

Conor, Raphina, and the band then prepare to film a Back to the Future-inspired music video for their new song, "Drive It Like You Stole It", but Conor is disheartened when Raphina fails to show up. Later, she reveals that she was set to leave for London with her boyfriend that day, but he abandoned her. Deeply hurt by her lack of disclosure and becoming even more offended by her nonchalance, Conor breaks up with Raphina. Because of the break-up, along with his family's problems, Conor finds difficulty in writing or playing music, but Brendan urges Conor to carry on so that at least he can escape his small-town doldrums and make a better future for himself. An opportunity arises for the band to play live at an end of year party at school. Conor manages to strike a friendship with Barry, offering him the chance to be the band's roadie and escape the physically and emotionally abusive relationship he has with his alcoholic father, which he accepts.

Conor prepares a new song, "Brown Shoes", mocking Baxter, which the band perform as an encore while distributing homemade masks of Baxter's face. Raphina arrives before the band finishes their song and reconciles with Conor, and both of them leave the party and the school in uproar. After secretly saying his goodbyes to his family later that night, Conor and Raphina persuade Brendan to drive them to Dalkey so they can escape in the motor cruiser and head to London. Brendan agrees and drives them to the harbour, where Brendan and Conor exchange an emotional embrace. Conor and Raphina sail out to sea, following the ferry across the rough Irish Sea to a new life in London. Brendan watches them disappear into the distance and cheers, overjoyed that his younger brother has left to go on to greater things.


Cast of Sing Street at the 2016 Dublin International Film Festival. Left to right: Percy Chamburuka, Mark McKenna, Kelly Thornton, Ben Carolan, Ian Kenny, Conor Hamilton.



In February 2014, it was announced that John Carney would be directing the film, from a screenplay he wrote about a boy starting a band in order to impress a girl. Carney would produce through his Distressed Films banner, along with Anthony Bregman through his Likely Story Banner, Kevin Frakes for PalmStar Media, and Raj Brinder Singh for Merced Media Partners, with Paul Trijbits and Christian Grass for FilmWave.[10] The film is a semi-autobiographical depiction of Carney's upbringing in Dublin.[11]


In a July 2014 interview, Carney announced he would be casting unknown actors in the film.[12][13] The unknown actors turned out to be Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, Percy Chamburuka, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rice, and Ian Kenny.[14] In September 2014, it was announced that Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, and Jack Reynor had joined the cast of the film, portraying the role of Conor's father, mother and brother respectively.[15][16]


Principal photography on the film began in September 2014 in Dublin, Ireland, and concluded on 25 October 2014.[17] Its namesake school, Synge Street CBS, was among the shooting locations for the film.[18]


Much of the original music by the band "Sing Street" was composed by Danny Wilson frontman Gary Clark,[19][20][21] with Carney, Ken and Carl Papenfus of the band Relish,[22] Graham Henderson and Zamo Riffman also receiving writing credits.[23] Adam Levine co-wrote (with Carney and Glen Hansard) and sings on the track "Go Now".[24]

The film also features music of the period from The Cure, a-ha, Duran Duran, The Clash, Hall & Oates, Spandau Ballet, The Blades, and The Jam.[25]


The movie soundtrack album was released by Decca Records on 18 March 2016.[26]

Track listing[edit]
  1. "Rock N Roll Is a Risk" (Dialogue) – Jack Reynor
  2. "Stay Clean" – Motörhead
  3. "The Riddle of the Model" – Sing Street
  4. "Rio" – Duran Duran
  5. "Up" – Sing Street
  6. "To Find You" – Sing Street
  7. "Town Called Malice" – The Jam
  8. "In Between Days" – The Cure
  9. "A Beautiful Sea" – Sing Street
  10. "Maneater" – Hall & Oates
  11. "Steppin' Out" – Joe Jackson
  12. "Drive It Like You Stole It" – Sing Street
  13. "Up" (Bedroom Mix) – Sing Street
  14. "Pop Muzik" – M
  15. "Girls" – Sing Street
  16. "Brown Shoes" – Sing Street
  17. "Go Now" – Adam Levine


In February 2014, it was announced that FilmNation Entertainment had been selected to sell international rights to the film.[27] In May 2014, it was announced The Weinstein Company had acquired U.S distribution rights to the film, for $3 million.[28]

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 24 January 2016.[6] The film screened at the Dublin Film Festival on 18 February 2016,[29] and at South by Southwest on 11 March 2016.[30] The film was released in Ireland on 17 March,[31] and in the United Kingdom on 20 May 2016.[7] It was released in the United States on 15 April 2016.[8]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 8 August 2016.[32]


Box office[edit]

Sing Street grossed $3.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $10.4 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $13.6 million.[5]

In the United States, the film made $63,573 from five theaters in its opening weekend, an average of $13,796 per venue.[33]

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 95% with an average score of 7.98/10, based on 204 reviews.[34] The website's critical consensus reads, "Sing Street is a feel-good musical with huge heart and irresistible optimism, and its charming cast and hummable tunes help to elevate its familiar plotting."[35] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 79 out of 100 based on 38 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[36] Audiences polled by PostTrak gave the film a 96% overall positive score and an 85% "definite recommend".[33]

Guy Lodge of gave the film a positive review, writing "Perched on a tricky precipice between chippy kitchen-sink realism and lush wish-fulfilment fantasy, this mini-Commitments gets away with even its cutesiest indulgences thanks to a wholly lovable ensemble of young Irish talent and the tightest pop tunes—riffing on Duran Duran and the Cure with equal abandon and affection—any gaggle of Catholic schoolboys could hope to write themselves. Given the right marketing and word of mouth, this Weinstein Co. release could Sing a song of far more than sixpence."[37]

In The Observer, Mark Kermode gave the film four out of five stars, writing: "When it comes to capturing the strange, romantic magic of making music, few modern film-makers are more on the money than John Carney." He added, "The bittersweet, 'happy sad' drama that follows has drawn inevitable, if misguided, comparisons with The Commitments, yet tonally this is closer to the teen spirit of Todd Graff's 2009 film Bandslam [...] or even Richard Linklater’s sublime School of Rock. As Carney has proved previously, he knows how to straddle the line between the sound in the room and the sound in your head – a sequence that segues from bedroom composition to living room rehearsal (with tea and biscuits) to full studio production perfectly negotiates the space between kitchen-sink realism and musical fantasy in which this lovely, lyrical movie casts its spell". Kermode concluded by saying, "Happy sad indeed. I laughed, I cried, I bought the soundtrack album."[38]


List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Austin Film Critics Association December 28, 2016 Best Film Sing Street 10th Place [39]
Critics' Choice Awards December 11, 2016 Best Song "Drive It Like You Stole It" – Gary Clark Nominated [40]
Dorian Awards January 26, 2017 Unsung Film of the Year Sing Street Nominated [41]
Empire Awards March 19, 2017 Best Soundtrack Sing Street Nominated [42]
Golden Globe Awards January 8, 2017 Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Sing Street Nominated [43]
Golden Tomato Awards January 12, 2017 Best Limited Release 2016 Sing Street 4th Place [44]
Best Musical/Music Movie 2016 Sing Street 2nd Place
Houston Film Critics Society January 6, 2017 Best Original Song "Drive It Like You Stole It" – Gary Clark Nominated [45]
Irish Film & Television Awards April 9, 2016 Best Film Sing Street Nominated [47]
Best Director John Carney Nominated
Best Script John Carney Nominated
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Jack Reynor Won
Best Original Score Gary Clark and John Carney Nominated
Best Sound Robert Flanagan Nominated
Best Costume Design Tiziana Corvisieri Nominated
Best Makeup & Hair Sing Street Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle January 22, 2017 British/Irish Film of the Year Sing Street Nominated [48]
Young British/Irish Actor of the Year Ferdia Walsh-Peelo Nominated
Technical Achievement John Carney and Gary Clark (music) Nominated
National Board of Review January 4, 2017 Top 10 Independent Films Sing Street Won [49]
San Diego Film Critics Society December 12, 2016 Best Original Score Sing Street Won [50]
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association December 18, 2016 Best Soundtrack Sing Street Won [52]
Best Song "Drive It Like You Stole It"– Gary Clark Nominated
Diversity in Media Awards September 15, 2017 Movie of the Year Sing Street Nominated [53]

Stage adaptation[edit]

Sing Street, like Carney's film Once, was adapted for stage as a musical, also called Sing Street. The screenplay was adapted by Enda Walsh (who also wrote the book for the musical Once) and the production was directed by Rebecca Taichman. The show premiered at New York Theatre Workshop on 16 December 2019 after extensive workshops.[54] The musical was initially set to premiere on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre in previews on March 26, 2020, and officially on April 19.[55] but it suspended its production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, a cast recording featuring the original Broadway cast was released on April 22, 2020. The musical now plans to open between the Winters of 2021 and 2022.[56]


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External links[edit]