I liked Sing Street so much, after liking Once so much nearly 10 years ago, that I'm actually sitting here kicking myself for missing writer and director John Carney's picture from 2013, Begin Again (disinclined to believe lightning could strike twice, though honestly I think I didn't notice it going through). So, right, Netflix queue ho! Like Once, Sing Street is set in an Ireland everybody wants to get away from, and, also like Once, the means of escape is music. Carney creates an old-fashioned kind of musical, where the songs draw from and propel the events and characters. They live their lives and transmute the experience into music before our very eyes. As with all musicals, Sing Street flirts dangerously with hokum. And it is not without its awkward and/or dead patches (and never mind the narrative holes, that's privilege of musicals). Here the time frame is the mid-'80s, and the key touchstones are Duran Duran and an older brother who is passionate about music and the authentic creative life (being himself a bit of a loser since graduating high school). The family finances, well into the Margaret Thatcher economic depression, are constricting. Connor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), the younger brother, must transfer to a rougher, harder Catholic school. Unfair oppression begins immediately—bullies, and a sadistic authoritarian principal priest who enforces senseless rules. Of course there's a beautiful girl involved too—Raphina (Lucy Boynton), who exudes a glamourous '80s beauty. To impress her, Connor starts a band, so he can invite her to be a model on video shoots. By way of fast cuts and movie magic, a band is formed and songwriting begins. And here we arrive at the wonderful part of the movie, which happily makes up most of it—writing songs. A comparable movie is Grace of My Heart, a period piece with new songs in period style. We see Connor strike on a germ of a lyrical idea, usually with an obvious influence. Besides the aforementioned Duran Duran, there are also key songs by the Cure, Hall & Oates, Joe Jackson, the Jam, Wham!, and other stone pure winners. Connor sits down with his songwriting partner, an introverted musical savant, and then eventually the whole band, as the fragments fall into place and they turn out to be some pretty good songs. "Drive It Like You Stole It" is the marquee play, an absolute delight, credited to Carney with Gary Clark. Other Sing Street songs—that's the name of the band, after the school they attend, Synge Street—are not credited, but are various degrees of high moments, perhaps suggested by their titles (do yourself a favor, and see for yourself): "The Riddle of the Model," "Up," "Girls," and the revenge song "Brown Shoes." There's a lot of talk in this movie, usually from that older brother, Brendan (Jack Reynor), about finding yourself and finding out what's real. That's what happens here. At the very least, Sing Street is another nearly perfect musical from Carney.