Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. Ireland/United Kingdom/USA, 2016. Cosmo Films, Distressed Films, FilmNation Entertainment, FilmWave, Likely Story, PalmStar Media. Screenplay by John Carney. Cinematography by Yaron Orbach. Produced by Anthony Bregman, John Carney, Martina Niland. Music by Becky Bentham. Production Design by Alan MacDonald. Costume Design by Tiziana Corvisieri. Film Editing by Andrew Marcus, Julian Ulrichs. Golden Globe Awards 2016. National Board of Review Awards 2016. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2016.
Conor is loaded with adolescent angst and a burgeoning longing to get in with girls, so when he spots a gorgeous older lass after school, he tells her that he’s the leader of a band and will hire her as a singer. The lie is so he can get to know her better, but she agrees to his proposal, which puts him in a bind: now he has to start a musical group and, also, learn how to write and play music. Thankfully he turns out to have a knack for it, his efforts driving his parents crazy while his rocking out in a new eighties glam rock getup each day gets him in trouble at his new, very Catholic school. The situation becomes more delightful with each turn of the plot as the motley group that he puts together gets better by the tune, improvised video or live performance. Trouble at home and an increasing awareness that his lady love doesn’t take his puppy love seriously doesn’t bode well for Conor’s personal life, but thankfully the music is there to deal with that too. A superb collection of songs, not that we expect anything less from director John Carney, a winning cast and a thorough, perpetual charm make this a must-see.