Suffering from the post-election blues? John Carney’s Sing Street might be the perfect film to temporarily lift your spirits. Set in Dublin during the 1980s, this coming-of-age blast of nostalgia is obsessed with the future. Fifteen-year-old Connor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) starts a rock band to impress an older woman named Raphina (Lucy Boynton) and discovers his own identity, as well as his love for musical expression in the process.
A glowing youth fantasy surrounded by the increasing pressures of real life, Carney’s musical is caught between the wonder of adolescent discovery and cynical adulthood. Each of Connor’s bandmates becomes a charming mentor that assists in traversing the difficult road of transition. For long spells, one forgets about the divorce, alcoholism, mortality, abuse and economic distress that threaten to define each of their lives.
That’s a testament to Carney’s strategic use of musical cues. Pivotal songs by The Cure, Duran Duran and The Jam all enter Connor’s impressionable headspace at the right time, often thanks to his burnt out but wise older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor). This inspires Connor to write his own lyrics with key collaborator Eamon (Mark McKenna), a quietly brave one-man band, then turn those songs into guerilla music videos.
Sing Street, released earlier this year in theaters and now streaming on Netflix, empowers its young protagonists to stand up against bullies of all kinds. During a rowdy, and by some turns political, live concert that takes place at the annual school dance, Connor and his band use music to rebel against the Catholic priest administrator who uses violence to keep order.
It may sound like cliché on paper, but witnessing such a courageous act of expression with our current political climate in mind can’t help but inspire new level of hope after the storm. More than ever, film and art of all kind must remind us that Trump and everything he stands for is not normal. Not now or ever.
Allied: An American intelligence officer (Brad Pitt) falls for a French resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard) in North Africa at the height of WWII. Directed by Robert Zemeckis.
American Honey: For their “Last Chance Indies” series, the programmers at Digital Gym Cinema bring back Andrea Arnold’s divisive Cannes award winner about a gang of ruffians travelling around America. Opens Friday Nov. 25, and screens through Thursday, Dec. 1, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Cien Años de Perdon: A bank robbery gone wrong leads a group of criminals toward unexpected loot. Opens Friday Nov. 25, and screens through Thursday, Dec. 1, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Moana: In Disney’s latest animated adventure, a young woman uses her navigational talents to discover a mysterious island and is joined by the demi-god Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson).
Rules Don’t Apply: Warren Beatty directs and stars as Howard Hughes in this unconventional biopic that focuses on two of his young employees who fall in love.
Seasons: The latest documentary by filmmakers behind Winged Migration and Oceans looks at how climate change has impacted seasons around the world. Opens Friday, Nov. 25, at the Ken Cinema.
Tower: This experimental documentary mixes animation and testimonials to tell the story of the University of Texas mass shooting that occurred in 1966. Opens Friday Nov. 25, and screens through Thursday, Dec. 1, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
One Time Only
Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: All Steve Martin wants to do is get home for the holidays, but John Candy’s got other plans. Screens at 8 pm. Wednesday, Nov. 23, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
War Dogs: Based on a true story, this crime comedy follows two arms dealers played by Miles Teller and Jonah Hill who underbid the competition and score a massive government contract. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25 and 26, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Pan’s Labyrinth: Guillermo del Toro’s sweeping horror film follows a young girl who encases herself in fantasy to escape the horrors of Franco’s Spain. Screens at 11:55 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, and 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 26, at the Ken Cinema.
Bad Santa: Billy Bob Thornton plays an angry booze hound who uses his cover as a mall Santa to commit crimes. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.