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August Rush

2007 film starring Freddie Highmore and Keri Russell directed by Kirsten Sheridan

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Soul Music

  • Apr 3, 2009
Rating:
+5
Pros: enchanting, uplifting, and engaging tale

Cons: not realistic enough for some viewers

The Bottom Line: An instant favorite for me, and one I'll be sharing with others for years to come.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

You know what music is? God's little reminder that there's something else besides us in this universe, a harmonic connection between all living beings, every where, even the stars." ~ Wizard 

  Once upon a time, there were two musicians. Lyla, a lovely and talented cellist with the NY Philharmonic, and Louis, a young Irish bassist in a budding rock band. They know nothing of each other and only their love of Music seems to bridge their very different lives. Some people believe that Music is a sacred and magical thing though, inexplicable and powerful beyond imagination. Some believe that everything in the Universe makes its own Music, and in moments of peace, bliss, or balance... we can hear this divine music being created around us all the time.

One fateful night, Lyla and Louis heard the Music playing and found each other.  For that one magical night, everything comes together in just the right way,at just the right time.  Lyla and Louis look on in wonder, embracing the moment and entwining their fates forever. The joy the found in that moment is never meant to last though. Circumstances and one misguided and over-controlling parent leave Lyla and Louis stranded in the wide world without each other or their music. Neither Lyla, the lonely princess in her tower, nor Louis, the wandering warrior prince, know that their son is alive and searching for them.  

Evan, our enchanted young hero, is certain that the Music of Life which he hears all the time, is his only sure way to find his lost parents. Evan, in his innocence, is certain that this marvelous music will lead him to exactly where and when he needs to be. So, our young hero sets off on what may be the most important quest he will ever undertake. How will the big bad city receive our fey young hero? Will he find friends or monsters? Can he, against all hope, fulfill his heart's desire and find his parents? Can he hold firm to the Music that reaches out to guide him? Evan himself will tell you what's in store before he has even begun his journey... "Sometimes the world tries to knock it out of you. But I believe in music the way some people believe in fairy tales." 

 ~~~~~~~~~ My Thoughts ~~~~~~~~~~ 

"What do you want to be in the world? I mean the whole world. What do you want to be? Close your eyes and think about that."
(Wizard) 
"Found." (Evan)  

James Morrison was originally offered the role of Louis Connelly, but he turned it down to concentrate on his music. I not only accept that, I applaud it. It certainly gave Jonathan Rhys Myers the opportunity to shine, and I can honestly say that I would never have guessed that someone else intended for this role. Myers is a versatile and talented actor, but I especially enjoy those roles in which he sings. He conveys something almost indefinable that bypasses things like talent or ability, and simply speaks of a love for Music.

I appreciate that under any circumstances, but a role like that of Louis Connelly is designed to illustrate the powerfully mystical and intuitive Bardic connection to Music, as well as the void we live in when we reject such a vital part of our selves.  Myers conveys  the cold practicality of Louis as a businessman who has severed his spiritual ties to Music and given himself to more profitable and tangible pursuits very well, but his portrayal of Louis when he is whole and embracing Music is so believable, so natural that it feels like something within us, the viewers, unclenches in response. The actor's native accent has a liquid and musical grace of it's own that compliments the role wonderfully. When he is singing, his body language and vocal inflection puts us completely in the moment and evokes an emotional response to what the character is experiencing.   

We are less certain of Lyla simply because she is less certain of herself. Her father is so driven to see her succeed in the arena of Music that we are given the sense that Lyla actually resents her lack of freedom more than she loves Music. This is something I think that everyone can relate to on a personal level to some extent. For all her talent, she seems far less certain, less connected to the divine energy of Music until the moment she realizes that those flashes of intuition she was suppressing for eleven years were true and trying to serve her. Lyla beautifully illustrates how we undermine ourselves in matters of intuition and faith.  

We are almost always taught from a young age to listen only to "reason", which typically means that we have been painstakingly trained to become our own worst enemy whenever we need to step outside the bounds of what is easily defined. Yet somewhere deep within, Lyla knows that her intuition is guiding her more truly than pure reason ever could. For a long time she rejects those impulses as merely wishful thinking, but when she discovers that her child is alive in the world somewhere without her, she awakens. Suddenly, the Music flows from her, and like Evan she is certain that somehow playing the Music that lives within her heart will lead her to her lost child. 

Originally, both Claire Daines and Liv Tyler were considered for this role. Keri Russell delivers such a compellingly human and real Lyla that I simply could not imagine anyone else in the role. She gives a delicacy and innocence to Lyla that draws viewers in, and shows the unshakable certainty and fierce protectiveness that every mother feels so well that it is easy to empathize with Lyla. Russell's considerable skills are subtle but inescapable in the role of Lyla, as she wakes within viewers a strong desire to see faith rewarded with success. The chemistry between Lyla and Louis is believable, and the enchantment and tragedy displayed through their relationship throughout the film definitely lends itself well to the fairytale flavor of August Rush.  

Robin Williams gives us an interesting performance as Maxwell "Wizard" Wallace. The character is like some oddly broken cross between a musical genius and Fagan from Oliver, with just a hint of Bono in his demeanor. Wizard understands the miraculous power of Music, but he seems hopelessly damaged by the dark nights of the soul he has experienced. How can you expound upon the sacred and spiritual nature of Music, and then justify exploiting the musical talents of street children for your own monetary gain?

Personally, I enjoy when Williams takes on a role portraying the darker side of humanity as I think he does it very well. Williams has a remarkable gift for humor, but he also has a keen understanding of the far less likable aspects of humanity. Roles like Wizard allows Williams to display his considerable skill as a Coyote, a sacred clown who teaches through humor and displaying the wrong way to handle any situation.  

Freddie Highmore as Evan, Jamia Simone Nash, and Leon Thomas III as Arthur (Artful Dodger to Williams' Fagan) are real gems. Highmore gives us the innocence and divine connection necessary for the character of Evan in a perfectly natural and seemingly effortless manner. Nash, as the aptly named Hope, has a smaller role than the more prominent Arthur, but she is wholly delightful in her depiction. She is like an angel of inspiration for Evan, wise and innocent both, and a wonderful foil for putting Evan where he needs to be both musically and physically.  

Arthur is absolutely priceless. Street-wise and independent in ways that many adults are not, it is sometimes difficult to remember that Arthur is still just a child trying to deal with a heart-rending situation. We see his jealousy of the attention, praise and gifts showered on Evan by Wizard and cannot help a swell of sorrow for this young man with no family, no true home. We wonder if he will follow Wizard's shadowy example or choose instead the bright path Evan is blazing. Only time will tell. While I hope to see more from all three of these young actors, I hope even more that none of them will fall into the many pitfalls and traps that come with being a child actor.  

"You never quit on your music. No matter what happens. Cuz anytime something bad happens to you, that's the one place you can escape to and just let it go. I learned it the hard way. And anyway, look at me. Nothing bad's gonna happen. You gotta have a little faith."
~ Louis  

The wonderful cast, solid directing, marvelous soundtrack, talented writing and everyday settings really come together to deliver a truly inspirational story. This lovely urban fairy tale is beautifully wrought, and focuses on one of my favorite topics, the Beauty and Sacred nature of Music. Like Evan, I have caught snatches of this wonderful music that seems to be formed continuously and naturally by all the things in the Universe around us since I was a child.

This underlying beat can be formed by wind, passing conversations, trees, birds, traffic, debris rattling down the street and a thousand other unconventional instruments. In moments of meditation, silence, or spiritual balance this Beauty of sound will swell like a well-orchestrated symphony, lending even more to the moment. To me, all forms of Music are sacred, powerful and healing, but perhaps none is quite so elusive or enchanting. So, I empathize with our young hero in a way that other viewers may not.  

This tale is not meant to be a factual account of a boy in an orphanage looking for his parents, or his parents discovering his existence and searching for him. This is an innocent tale illustrating pure and desirable concepts like Faith, Love, Hope and Charity... all of which have become increasingly rare in today's rather jaded and spiritually disconnected society. How delightful to find that Hollywood can actually produce something so lovely and wholesome! 

Despite my glowing review of this film, I am quite certain that it is not for everyone. Many will not find the fairytale blend of magic and innocence appealing, or will find it simply too unrealistic to be worth the view time. Having some idea of what you are walking into will, hopefully, allow potential viewers to decide for themselves whether this is something they would enjoy. For me, August Rush, is an instant favorite and a must have for my DVD collection. So much that is illustrated so beautifully here speaks to me on a personal level.

Even the name August Rush makes me think instantly of Lughnasadh, an ancient Celtic harvest festival which is still celebrated by some around August 1st. This celebration is all about sharing the bounty of harvest, the splendor of the Sun, and the transformative cycle of rebirth. Dancing and music are essential elements in this yearly celebration in which we rejoice in all that feeds us; physically, emotionally, spiritually.

This film focuses on Music, but illustrates in many subtle ways how the choices we make, good or bad, feed aspects of our selves and those around us. Music is often considered to be a universal language as it can reach out and move people who are vastly different in origin, spoken language and station in life. Music, like Love or Hope, transcends trivial barriers like spoken language or culture. Like Faith and Charity, it can have a profound impact on individuals and groups that continues into future generations. Like these other Truths in life, Music feeds our hearts minds and souls, and can inspire us in ways that we cannot foresee or predict. Music allows us to express that which we cannot give words to, and heals wounds that never scar but could last a lifetime. Music can give birth to miracles. 

"The music is all around you, all you have to do is listen."  

Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for Groups
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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December 03, 2010
This is quite a read. I really enjoyed it, now I have to see this movie. Thanks!
 
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More August Rush reviews
review by . April 03, 2009
You know, I'm all for a sappy happy bubbly ending. Really. I'm a happy kinda girl and I like things that end on a positive note. Positive... but at least somewhat plausible.    I'm going to totally beyond all reason spoil the ending here- so don't read if you haven't seen.     A boy who can "hear" his parents in the "music" of nature? Ok fine, I'll believe it. A boy who has incredible musical talent without any training whatsoever? Alright. A couple who chat …
review by . December 19, 2008
"Listen. Can you hear it? The music. I can hear it everywhere. In the wind... in the air... in the light. It's all around us."   Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):   1.   Boy musician (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) meets girl musician (Keri Russell) and they make beautiful music up on the roof before going their separate ways 2.   Little orphan boy (Freddie Highmore) hears music in the wind and feels a connection to the parents he never knew 3.   Desperately seeking …
review by . November 24, 2008
Pros: ...     Cons: ...     The Bottom Line:    “But God bless the child thats got his own  Thats got his own” ~Chris Botti and Paula Cole      This is a strange mixture of Romeo & Juliet along with Oliver as we bring together Lyla, uber-rich and talented cellist, and Louis, equally talented street-smart, bass player.  Lyla plays in the ultra chic venue and Louis plays in smoke filled bars.  …
review by . July 06, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
'August Rush' is, as best, hard to describe. It's not a musical, but it's a movie about music, where music forms the emotional backbone of the story. It's not a fantasy, but the story it tells has elements that can only be described as fantastic. It's not a 'family film' is the traditional sense, though it is a movie the the whole family can watch, enjoy, and appreciate on many levels.    'August Rush' tells the story of a young boy, conceived on a magical night between a pair …
review by . October 21, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Concept in general, tone, pacing, acting      Cons: While some of the music is good, it is mostly incomplete    The Bottom Line: Prodigy stories are common, the emotion and motive behind this one is different and worth a look so long as you know it will be sappy.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. It is rare for this reviewer to watch a film I know will probably drown me in sap, but mood …
review by . March 19, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
AUGUST RUSH will not go down in history as a profound film: many will even go so far as to dismiss it as kitsch, maudlin, and a simpleton take off on 'Oliver Twist', and other pejoratives. For this viewer the little film is tender and frequently requires suspension of belief, but in the end the idea of the story does indeed bring a tear to the eye.    Based on a story by Paul Castro and Nick Castle and transformed for the screen by Castle and James V. Hart, the premise is that …
review by . April 01, 2008
Whether or not the implausible plot of director Kirsten Sheridan's 2007 "August Rush" makes much sense or not, the film moves with its own frenetic momentum; the urgent momentum of the music heard inside the head of its main character Evan Taylor a.k.a. August Rush (played by the serious Freddie Highmore of "Finding Neverland"), musical genius extraordinaire of the caliber of a latter-day Amadeus Mozart.     Ordinary sounds like that of the grass blowing in the breeze and the …
review by . March 12, 2008
This is more than a feel good movie. It is a beautiful story about a boy searching for his parents. He goes about his quest listening to the music all around him. Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers are great. Russell's performance is truly excellent. She is cellist who becomes pregnant after one night with a bad singer. Throughout the movie, she searches for her son. Freddie Highmore is a fantastic actor. His face never lost that innocence and hopefulness that made the movie fantastic. The story …
About the reviewer
Quinn Blackburn ()
Ranked #131
Hello, my name is Quinn... yes, that really is my first name. :o) I also answer to Mom, and occasionally Entwife. I enjoy Beauty wherever I find it... Nature, Music, Art in all its forms... I believe … more
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Wiki

AUGUST RUSH is part romance, part gentle fantasy, but this sweet drama is all heart. When young cellist Lyla (Keri Russell) and rock musician Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) meet at a party in the mid 1990s, it's love at first sight, and they spend the night in each other's arms. But Lyla's father forces them apart, even though she later learns she's pregnant. Later, an accident lands Lyla in the hospital, and though her father tells her that her baby died, the child survives and is given up for adoption. AUGUST RUSH jumps to the present and begins to follow Evan (Freddie Highmore), an 11 year old who has grown up in a boys' home. As Evan embarks on a crusade to find his parents, he imagines he can communicate with them through his gift for music. His journey to New York City brings him into contact with Wizard (Robin Williams), a man eager to capitalize on the child prodigy's talent. Wizard gives Evan the name August Rush as he begins performing all over the city, but the boy's ultimate goal is to find the...
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Details

Director: Kirsten Sheridan
Genre: Drama
Release Date: November 21, 2007
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Nick Castle, Jr., Jim V. Hart
DVD Release Date: January 19, 2010
Runtime: 1hr 53min
Studio: Warner Home Video
First to Review

"Beautiful film"
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