John Carney, the director of Once and Sing Street, has a formula: misfits connect through music, and two or three impossibly catchy melodies later we leave them happier, more rounded and creatively fulfilled. It’s a formula that has served him well, and his latest – the punchily upbeat Dublin-set tale of a single mum (Eve Hewson, terrific), her sullen teenage son (Orén Kinlan) and her LA-based Zoom guitar teacher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – is no exception. Flora and Son is a big-hearted crowd-pleaser, the swell of sentimentality nicely tempered by the sharp edges of Flora’s personality. She has lost direction in her life; her son, Max, is one petty crime away from a stint in a juvenile detention centre. But then a discarded guitar in a skip provides a lifeline for Flora and a link to the boy.
The volcanically sweary dialogue doesn’t quite disguise the naivety of the feelgood trajectory, and the ending feels clunky, but this is a boisterous and disorderly charmer of a picture nonetheless.
In select cinemas now; on Apple TV+ from 29 September