Stars: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Aidan Gillen, Mark McKenna, Ben Carolan, Percy Chamburuka.
Director: John Carney
Screenplay: John Carney
I am very late to the game in viewing this early 2016 hit, but as this was nominated for best Musical or Comedy at the 74th Golden Globes today—and rightly so lost to La La Land— I thought it was the right time to finally sit down and watch. I am so glad I did.
This is the John Carney make-art-by-making-music-movie that I actually like. I was never charmed by Once or Begin Again but I can appreciate them for what they are, but finally I can actually enjoy Carney's ideals of the world with this mid 80s inspire gem. It is so joyful, full of hope with a killer soundtrack. I enjoyed every original song in this movie so much that I would have loved these guys as a real band. Carney loves to show the process of writing music and that may have been my absolute favourite part of this film, watching these young men—Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) and Eamon (Mark McKenna)—meld their musical talents together to make true harmony.
Never once did I feel as though this was filmed today, or rather Carney made his world so authentic that I didn't even try to find mistakes in filming the period (not that I would know as I was not born until 4 years after the film was set). It simply holds the innocence of a time where the music video was just taking off and the older generation could not understand it as an art form. The modern electric sound of Duran Duran in all its kitch was the new trend that is carried through the young boys' music. The joy in that music kept me grinning from ear to ear.
But what really struck me was the relationship between Conor and his big brother Brendan (Jack Reynor). This brother relationship holds such gravitas within the framework of the film. Conor adores Brendan, from his love of music and music videos to his outlook on the world. So much of Conor's journey corresponds with the advice Brendan gives to him. It is not that Conor is trying to please his brother or live in his shadow but that he genuinely cherish's his brothers advice that he has the faith to follow it. That brotherly love is such a comfort to see as Conor soaks it up and relies on it until the very end.
A very heart warming movie, it deserves all the love that it has received over the last year and many more years to come.