Sing Street (2016): Breaking Boredom with Bold Moves
An uplifting scene about directing mediocrity with creativity and bold moves
My goal with Scene Lift is to connect with the spirit of uplifting movies and scenes. After reading this reflection, feel free to join me in the comments where I relate the spirit of Sing Street to my own life.
Sing Street is about a high school boy who starts a band to impress a girl. By doing this, he forms a closer bond with his music-loving brother and meets new friends. He also forms a connection with the bully at school who becomes the band’s bouncer.
This series of events is triggered by financial distress within the boy’s family. To save money, his parents take him out of a private school and make him join a public Catholic school. Here, fights often break out, kids smoke cigarettes in class while senile priests are teaching, the cafeteria is in a basement, bullying is rampant, and the lead priest abuses the boys.
He sees a way out in the older girl who sits on the stoop every day across the street from the school as all the boys are leaving. No one has the courage to talk to her except for him. In her, he sees a chance for something better. She represents an opportunity for change. To not comply with mediocrity. To live.
So, when he approaches her and she says she’s a model, he dreams up an idea: that he has a band that needs a model for a music video. He puts a band together and realizes the dream, figuring out the details along the way and leaving the void of complacency behind him. His creative spirit drives him — the same creative spirit inside us all but that we often abandon from fear of failure or what people in alleged positions of power will do or think.
There is nothing to be afraid of because, when you direct the fear, like how he directs the bully in this scene, the fear crumbles.
“You’re living in my world. I’m not living in yours.”
What’s beneath this scene is the source of fear for the bully that makes him want to impose fear on others. In a later scene, we see that his rage comes from his dad’s rage. And, when the band visits his house to ask him to be their bouncer, we see how the bully’s creative spirit has been blunted by his dad who thinks all he is good for is fetching another bottle of beer.
What stops the cycle of fear and complacency is action. Positive action that requires some risk. Creative action. The boy does this by making moves on the model and starting a band, the bully does this by creating protection for the band and telling his dad to piss off, and the band does this by creating a song about the priests’ wrongdoing and singing it at the school dance.
Of course, creativity can arise organically without much effort or a need to quash fear. We see this with the bandmate who can play just about any instrument and has a mother who loves and supports his music. This more fluid way of life comes from abandoning ideas of boundaries and breaking cycles of fear — again and again, day after day, year after year, lifetime after lifetime — whether these cycles are personal, familial, generational, or karmic (if you believe in such a thing). We might assume that the bandmate has done this.
How have you broken boundaries that allowed you to live more fully? Or which boundary do you need to break now? Can a creative action or bold move help you do this?
This reminds me about how I asked out a beautiful girl from a neighboring township during my senior year of high school. At that point, I had never had a girlfriend and recently recovered from pretty bad acne that affected my self-esteem. I was nervous but asked her out anyways. We worked together as servers at a retirement home. As I was leaving one night and she was waiting for her mom to pick her up, I asked her if she wanted to hang out sometime. She said yes! Not long after we went to prom together and it made everyone’s mouths drop. One of the popular kids who I respected most said I had brought the star of the show. Other popular kids were confused and jealous. Some even bullied me. But, like the kid in Sing Street, I held my ground, seeing that their venomous comments came from their own insecurities and family karma.
The creative action I’m taking these days is writing Scene Lift and opening up here. I also took a risk and left my full-time job in pursuit of freelancing. This will provide more freedom with how I work and more space to focus on fun projects like Scene Lift and screenwriting. With traditional jobs, there’s too much noise, especially with communication mediums like Slack. Someone always has an opinion that you’re expected to listen to and what you do is never enough. There’s always an expectation for more. This is not a system I want to support any longer. I want to continue to work with companies as I have no intention of becoming a vagrant, but outside the inner circle that often feels neurotic. Rock and roll baby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucThe0nMRKI