After finding out about some family troubles, Conor learns that he has to transfer to a free state school to save money. While he gets bullied by the students and the principal, a young woman sitting on the stoop opposite of the entrance catches his attention. Building up the confidence to talk to her, he tells her that he has a band and invites her to be in their upcoming music video. While he had never played with a band, he works his way around the school to find other social outcasts to craft a band. As they take inspiration from budding artists like Duran Duran and The Cure, Conor convinces Raphina to join their project and perform in all of their other future videos. While the band may have served as an excuse to talk to her in the first place, Conor explores the potential of winning Raphina’s affection through his music.
Inspired 80s Music: One of the most enjoyable elements of this film was the music. While much of what was featured were songs by famous artists, there were several songs created that held the essence of the 80s while also serving as original works. Of the popular hits from the decade, some of the best included Rio by Duran Duran, Maneater by Hall & Oates, and Steppin’ Out by Joe Jackson. As Conor listens to and draws inspiration from each of the different artists, he continues to adapt his style to meet that of the artists. His music also takes inspiration from their sound, with hits like Drive It Like You Stole It and To Find You.
A Familiar Love Story: While there was nothing particularly special about the love story itself, there was something still very sweet about Conor’s love for Raphina. Not only did he pull together a band to get her attention and then include her in the music videos, but he actually wrote his music aimed at telling her how he felt about her. Up was a direct admission of his love. She clearly recognized and reciprocated affection for Conor, but she also was dealing with some personal complications regarding her lack of family and sense of belonging. Their love opens both of their eyes to a potential new adventure for them to share together.
Struggling to Find Opportunity: One of the central themes of the film was the poverty of the people in Dublin. Early on, they talked about the idea that people struggle to find work and success due to the tough economy. It was part of the reason that Conor was moved to the free school. After meeting Raphina, Conor learned that she desired to move to London and find success as a model. As the band becomes more popular, Conor even started to believe that there might be a future for him if he left home. Making such a choice like that would allow him to achieve something his brother never could.
Final Verdict: The film is nothing revolutionary, but it is simply a fun story with some great, catchy music. The soundtrack is definitely something I could listen to over and over again. The characters have an innocence that helps give the dialogue and the love story a freshness that accounts for the lack of originality.
Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5