Sing Street Parent Guide
The story, acting, music, production, and writing all work together to tell a simple but uplifting story.
Parent Movie Review
Ireland in 1985 is engulfed in a devastating recession that forces many Irish people to leave for England in hope of finding jobs. Those left behind are struggling to make ends meet, with many unemployed. Conor Lawlor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is a 15-year-old Dubliner with a passion for music and a desire to stand out. With his father out of work, Conor is sent to a cheaper school, Synge Street, where he meets a mysterious girl (Lucy Boynton) who lives across the street from the school. In a bid to impress her, Conor tells her he’s in a band and is looking for someone to be in their music video. To keep up the lie, Conor puts together a band called Sing Street. As their music and relationships develop, Conor learns how to be himself, stand up to bullies, and risk everything for a dream.
Coming of age movies tend to be a mixed bag. Sometimes they’re over sexualized, or unrealistic, or just plain bad. But when a coming of age story is done right, it can be amazing. Sing Street, luckily, falls into the later category. Conor’s journey of self-discovery and growth is beautifully told. He makes mistakes and he stumbles, but he also learns and grows. He faces problems that many teens face, such as bullies, trouble at home, and an unrequited crush, but his vulnerability and strength carry him through these challenges. His journey is subtly and powerfully reflected in the costuming and makeup choices. We see Conor try different styles emulating 80s pop stars until he finally finds a style all his own.
I would be remiss if I did not sing (see what I did there?) the praises of Sing Street’s soundtrack. The original music that the band writes is amazing. I have been listening to this soundtrack on a regular basis since 2016 and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. The music genres run the gamut from synth rock to piano ballads to 80s pop, but they are all integrated seamlessly into the story, and the music itself acts as a parallel to Conor’s growth as a person.
Sing Street is an all-round inspiring film. The story, the acting, the music, the production, and the writing all work together to tell a simple but uplifting story. The ending is motivational, but not in a cheesy way. It’s hard to explain, but it made me feel full of hope and passion and a desire to go out and live my dreams. That all said, Sing Street does contain a fair amount of content concerns, especially as far as language goes, so I can’t recommend it for young audiences. Compared to other entries in this genre it is actually relatively clean in some areas, but it is set in Ireland in the 80s, so there’s going to be a lot of swearing and smoking. For older teens and adults, Sing Street is an amazing coming of age story with a beautiful message and a fantastic soundtrack.Directed by John Carney. Starring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Aidan Gillen, Lucy Boynton. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release March 17, 2016. Updated November 7, 2020
Watch the trailer for Sing Street
Rating & Content Info
Why is Sing Street rated PG-13? Sing Street is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic elements including strong language and some bullying behavior, a suggestive image, drug material and teen smoking
Violence: Boys fight in a schoolyard. A teen boy is punched in the face. A father slaps his son in the face. A priest drags a teenager into a bathroom and holds his head under the faucet. A bully threatens to kill a teen. A teen girl has a mark on her cheek that she admits is from her boyfriend. A priest punches a teen boy in the face.
Sexual Content: Rape is mentioned in a jokey context. A bully demands a teen pull his pants down, but he refuses. Phallic graffiti is shown in the background a few times. A woman is seen putting batteries in a vibrator. An extra-marital affair is mentioned. A teen couple kiss. A teen mentions wanting to have sex in the future. A son says that his parents got married only so that they could sex.
Profanity: Many uses of moderate expletives, one extreme expletive, many uses of terms of deity, the middle finger gesture is used twice. Gay slurs are used many times, as well as some outdated terms to refer to black people.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Teens and adults are seen smoking throughout. A priest drinks from a flask. Adults are shown having wine and whiskey socially. Discussions about drug addicts and alcoholics.
Page last updated November 7, 2020
Sing Street Parents' Guide
How does Conor change from the beginning of the movie to the end? What lessons does he learn? What does he do to stand up to his bullies?
Related home video titles:
Also set in the United Kingdom in the mid-1980s, Blinded by the Light tells the story of Javed, the teenaged son of South Asian immigrants. Javed is desperate to escape the town of Luton and become a writer but his parents want him to follow a more traditional path. Javed feels trapped until he’s inspired by the music of Bruce Springsteen. With a musical score by the Boss and a story that will make you stand up and cheer, this is a fun family film.
Not sure what it is with the UK, but Wild Rose is set in Scotland and tells the story of a young woman who wants to be a country singer. Her dream is complicated by her criminal record and the two children she needs to care for. This movie has significant bad language, but provides viewers with lots to think about and comes with a wonderful country soundtrack. (And, no, that isn’t a contradiction in terms.)