Sing movie cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly
Sing movie director: Christophe Lourdelet, Garth Jennings
At the heart of this animation from the makers of Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets is the insight, suggested early on, about how music lights up most of our days. Be it a stressed mother pig, Rosita (Witherspoon), with her 25 piglets; the gorilla son of a serial thief, Jonny (Egerton); the mouse originally from the ‘Lincoln School of Music’, Mike (MacFarlane); the porcupine with a domineering boyfriend, Ash (Johansson); and the shy elephant with the enormous talent, Meena (Kelly).
It’s of course guaranteed that each one of them will get their time in the limelight, in this city inhabited entirely by animals. And the film doesn’t try anything new getting them there, banking largely on tired cliches such as a singing contest, familiar hits, and messy situations which get easily resolved. However, who doesn’t like to watch a tired old mom or a repressed young son come unshackled on stage? Sing understands this well, and so does little more than putting each one of them on stage one by one and letting them just sing their heart out.
The songs, it turns out, are all delightfully well-performed, each by the actors themselves who are voicing the characters, of whom only Kelly is a professional singer.
They are brought together in the film by Buster Moon (McConaughey), a koala bear whose meagre earnings and lifelong dreams have gone into building a magnificent theatre which is now on its last legs. Moon has never put together a hit show and the only two who have stuck by him through everything are an iguana secretary and a rich sheep friend, Eddie (Reilly), who occasionally helps him out. With the bank threatening to close the threatre down, Moon decides to hold a singing contest to revive his fortunes. What draws the whole town of hopefuls, including the five mentioned above, to Moon’s doorstep is a typing error by his secretary that inflates the prize he is offering from $1,000 to $100,000.
Things go wrong, some threateningly bulky bears get involved, and relationships face minor crises. But all is well that ends well. Particularly when you can leave with a tune on your lips and a spring in your steps.