The Weinstein Company          1 hour 46 minutes      PG-13

Writer/Director John Carney has another winner here. He’s responsible for the movie ONCE and also one of our favorites, Begin Again (Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightly). This time he gambled on a non-actor for his lead who made quite an impression.

Sing Street is a coming of age story set in the 1980’s in Ireland. A young boy sees a beautiful young girl and, with the help of the unintentional suggestion of his music freak brother, decides to put a band together and get her to star in his video. That’s how he thinks he can win her over.

Ferdia Walsh-Peelo plays Conor/Cosmos, who tried out for the role of the rock star wannabe. Carney says he made up his mind. “If i didn’t get the kid, I wouldn’t make the film.” He says kids were lined up around Temple Bar looking for a guy and a girl and the rest of the guys to make up the band. He says he was nervous he wouldn’t find that one kid. Fergie auditioned several times and what sold the director on him was that he improved at each one. Always thought Fergie was there at the first and last audition. Showed this lovely steady level of improvement throughout the audition process. and call backs. Plus, he had great chemistry, the right vibe with the girl and the band and had to have the right combination of wierdness, energy, tentativeness, and shyness. the boys in the band are adorable and each had their own personality. Carney says, “If they made me laugh, they were in.”

Walsh-Peelo is innocent looking enough, but brazen enough in the role to pull it off. (Besides, his father and uncles attended the real Synge Street Christian Brothers School which inspired the name of the band). He’s engaging. But he says Carney created a great atmosphere on set which helped. And he learned so much from the experienced actors, including the stunningly beautiful Lucy Boynton as Raphia, his love interest. She plays a foster child who has had many homes and is way beyond her years. She makes up stories and uses cutting edge makeup and hairstyles to make it appear like she’s always living in the fast lane.  It takes awhile for her to develop trust in anyone, including Conor. They’re very cute together as they build their relationship. Boynton found it thrilling to be involved in a film about really vulnerable and damaged people, especially with the brother Brandon. She thinks there’s so much more going on for the adults as well as the children who see the film.

Walsh-Peelo says working with Jack Reynor who plays his older brother Brandon, also taught him so much. Reynor plays the older brother who’s a complete stoner, listening to his lps., always at odds with his parents. He gruffly teaches his younger sibling about music, life and girls. Their parents are constantly fighting with each other, too, and the family’s finances are tight as everyone’s in Ireland at that time. Conor, Brandon and their sister don’t have a great home life. There’s plenty of tension, especially when Conor has to change schools to ease the financial burden. Hard to watch the bullying. But it does toughen him up.

There are several scenes where big brother Reynor looks so much like Seth Rogen, it was weird. He’s a talented actor who’s been in a wide variety of films from Macbeth with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, and we interviewed him a couple of years ago for Transformers: Age of Extinction! Reynor says he becomes the advisor to Conor, teaching about life through music and guiding him through stages. He’s the philosopher in the film.

Is this worth your bucks/

Carney uses music to create a backdrop for the period and what this little band is trying to do. There’s a dream scene reminiscent of the big dance in Back to the Future that is a highpoint. Wals-Peelo described being the focal point in the scene as amazing and brilliant. What an opportunity for the young actor to take center stage in this fun film. We think you'll be singing praises to this kids who come from this street.