The essential ingredients in John Carney's films: music and heart -- see Once (2007) and Begin Again (2013)-- bubble up in ample supply in his new one, Sing Street. The movie had its premiere Tuesday night at Metrograph, a new old space on Ludlow and Canal, just around the corner from necktie designer Alexander Olch's chic boutique on Orchard. Metrograph is Olch's place too: he's combining his love of movies with his awesome garment-making skills. There, Courtney Love, Rudy Guiliani, Terry George, Paul Haggis, and many others picked up their popcorn and pop and planted themselves in the plush chairs for the screening. The seating seems kind of free form, yet perfect for viewing Sing Street, a coming of age tale sure to be a hit, with the most appealing and talented characters this side of Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some!!
Set in Dublin, 1985, Cosmo (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), a nerd bullied and beat up in a new school, forms a band to impress a gorgeous brunette, Raphina (Lucy Boynton). His older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor), a wasted soul who is also music savvy, dispenses wisdom of all sorts as older brothers do. Cosmo's band features Eamon (Mark McKenna), a rabbit-loving musician-of-all-trades, and you cannot help thinking of that Liverpool band begun decades ago, even though their music veers closer to Duran Duran.
At Hotel Indigo north on Ludlow, everyone gathered on the 14th floor to drink, chat, munch, check out the view, and listen to Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Mark McKenna on guitars singing songs from Sing Street. Lucy Boynton, now a blond, floated by, just as she does in the video made of their act in the film. She's a beautiful tease. At 16, Walsh-Peelo is hardly a nerd. He said it was easy to play down, harder to be sophisticated. Jack Reynor was there too. He said director John Carney allowed him to improvise his role. His Brendan gets left behind as he enables the others to flee in a boat on choppy waters, and we fantasized his future, after the film's inspiring end: he too would get to leave Dublin.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.