“Between the velour suits and impeccable pop homages, John Carney’s eighties-era coming-of-ager Sing Street is possibly the most joyful time capsule to be seen at the movies this year. But Carney isn’t just emptily reminiscing in this tale of a Dublin teenager who throws together a ramshackle rock band to impress his crush, played by the exquisite Lucy Boynton. As Cosmo, the frontman at the film’s center, first-time screen actor Ferdia Walsh-Peelo offers yet another avatar of awkwardly-evolving boyhood, which isn’t exactly a foreign entity to indie film these days, although Cosmo is far more than just another morose boy with floppy hair and a guitar.
Sing Street improves on this archetype (and the old tropes that come with it) through Walsh-Peelo’s plucky and resourceful performance, which imbues Cosmo with a quietly-attuned watchfulness and wades through the mucky swamp of uncomfortable adolescence with a heady blend of bullishness and apprehension. He develops a physical vocabulary that fits the character to a tee, starting off with the slouching gait and fidgety body language of a teenage turtle still living painfully beneath his shell. You can actually see the actor steadying his fitful frame with each passing chapter of Cosmo’s soulful emergence into a more assured version of himself, while never fully abandoning the shrugs and fidgets of a boy who’s still, like all of us, an undeniable work-in-progress. Every actor in Sing Street is something close to a dream, but Walsh-Peelo is the central, finely-tuned instrument that allows this song to really sing.” — Matthew Eng
“It’s easy when playing the lone girl in a boy-dominated coming-of-age movie to become a glassy idea of girlhood rather than a concrete entity in one’s own right. But Lucy Boynton, as the aspirant teenage model and willing musician’s muse in John Carney’s incredibly infectious Sing Street, has two huge assets on her side that prevent her from falling into such a trap. First, Carney clearly and deeply cares about Boynton’s Raphina, giving her plenty of soul-searching close-ups and an atypically moving and detailed arc. And second, Boynton herself is a born star with remarkably subtle instincts and a magnetic hold on the camera that help a potentially indefinable character learn to slowly but steadily define herself.” — Matthew Eng