I admit to my lateness on this musical darling of a film, but the wait was clearly worth my while. Directed and written by Irish filmmaker John Carney (Once and Begin Again) and is about a young boy’s life in the 80’s in Dublin Ireland where family life is falling apart, school sucks, and there’s still a girl he wants to impress. It’s a coming of age story that narrates itself through perfectly timed and hand picked songs from the 80’s as well as some original music from the young stars that lead us through their world of music, friendship, and hardship.
I haven’t been fortunate enough to see some of these indies on time due to their minimal showings in local theaters, but if I was to implore audiences to go out and see a smaller budget film, this would be it. It stands as a humorous and endlessly heartwarming comedy/drama/romance/musical like we don’t get to see often enough and it will transport you into a small fraction in history where letting your individuality out was not as easy as you think it is. With relatively unknown talents, who are all musically gifted in one way or another, this is the classic tale of boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy makes a band to impress her. What differentiates this film from it’s predecessors are those Irish brogues and some seriously believable chemistry between the whole cast.
You would have never guessed this film starred mostly newcomers, but that goes to show that casting is so important. The young actors seem to perform their musical numbers without restrictions and the music will get you jazzed up with teenage angst and sex drive like no other. It taps into the center of what is really a story about family and following dreams and a path that only you can pave and it’s something hit me at the core in moments I didn’t fathom reacting to. It will also make you hiss at angry Catholics, but that’s for you to decide (don’t promote hate!).
There isn’t much else to say except for you to see the film yourself. It is a splendid leap back in time to an era that is full of big hair, make-up, and Duran Duran, but rather setting it in a classic American setting like most audiences are used to seeing it, we see it through the eyes of the Irish in a time of poverty, rebellion, and escapism. The change in location as well as perspective is what brought the film over that hump of cliched indie comedies about coming of age. It’s green, it’s refreshingly original, and it makes get up from your seat and grab your crush in hopes she kisses you. If she isn’t the one that kisses you, at least you will know you can rely on your friends and family to bring you back up, and that’s what you should get out of this film in the end.