A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.
Oh to be young and in love, in 1980s Ireland… How do you win over the girl of your dreams? Impress her! The fact that you’re the lead singer in a band is surely a winner. But hang on, Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is not a singer, nor is he in a band… Luckily the naive optimism and creativity of youth quickly solves those minor problems, with a bit of help from various random schoolmates and his older brother Brendan on the one hand, and a bit of hindrance from his parents and the school principal on the other. And so his wooing of Raphina (Lucy Boynton) begins…
Indeed, this is a light coming of age tale, but a funny one with plenty of classic 80s music – The Cure, The Clash, Spandau Ballet, A-Ha, and Duran Duran all feature on the soundtrack. But Conor’s own band also create some pleasantly catchy tunes – the first one being ‘The Riddle of the Model’ – which is, you guessed it, about his muse Raphina.
As a proper teenager, Conor is at least as much in love with the idea of being a struggling and rebellious artist as he is with Raphina. When he begins to figure out that Raphina is also a person, and one that is actually a bit more complex than he himself is, he is still not deterred; if anything it only makes him want to go for broke even more. And that is how we arrive at an overly sappy ending – in line with your average ’80s teen-comedy-slash-coming-of-age-tale. It is a bit too easy, but at the same time doesn’t detract from the journey to get there. It is a small movie treading over familiar ground, but in a refreshing and enjoyable way. Simply a fun watch.