sing!

Director: Garth Jennings

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane

Rating: 4/5

Garth Jennings, the director of Despicable Me and Fantastic Mr. Fox, brings yet another animated feel-good film to the screen.

The film, which grossed $356 million worldwide, is based in a world similar to ours but is entirely inhabited by animals. Though specifically aimed at a younger audience, Sing conveys a message encouraging kindness, confidence and most importantly, inclusion without judgement.

The film stars a koala impresario known as Buster Moon (McConaughey) who has always had a passion for entertainment. Though he has fallen on rough financial times and faces the potential of losing his precious theatre, he proposes to stage a singing competition. The contest draws the attention of all animals, including a punk-rock porcupine (Johansson), an egotistical mouse (McFarlane), a stay-at-home, harried pig mom ( Witherspoon) and a talented but shy elephant (Tori Kelly). 

Arguably, the past year was a year of divisiveness and Sing offers a great opportunity to remember the importance of inclusion through a nice family outing. The musical comedy brings you back to the lessons you learned from your preschool days: love yourself and love the world, dream big and always have empathy for others. A fundamental principle children will always benefit from and reminder for the adult viewers who forgot as life went on. 

Other voices include John C. Reilly, Jennifer Hudson, Leslie Jones, Nick Offerman and Taron Egerton who offer comedic roles in the movie. Portraying the characters with their distinctive qualities, both Johansson and MacFarlane’s personalities shine through their animal characters and bring lighthearted fun to Sing. Ash the porcupine identifies herself as a confident and independent girl ready to make it on her own while MacFarlane gives his little shrew a sort of Family Guy-like essence, compensated by appropriate behaviour. The depth of characters combines beautifully with the depth of music and, just like any other animated movie, triggers warm feelings and good vibes.

The music also appeals to audiences of all ages, from the classics of Queen's “Under Pressure” and Frank Sinatra's "My Way" to Cat Stevens' “The Wind” and George Michael's “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," as well as current music from Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen and John Legend. Other honourable mentions include the Gypsy Kings, Seal, Drake and Dave Brubeck.

The struggles associated with music showbiz are triumphant amid the plot, but the movie has a distinct creative humour connected to an animal's life. Elements of friendly cohabitation and optimism also give the musical comedy a very pleasant feeling. Especially within animated film, the audience tends to empathize and understand the characters in a way they sometimes can’t with human actors.

All in all, watch Sing for a much-needed inside hug. Animated animal movies are becoming more and more popular and this movie is another stellar one to add to the list.

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