Friday, July 5, 2013

August Rush (2007) [PG] **

Lyla (Keri Russell) a concert cellist, and Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) lead singer in a rock band, meet at a party following their New York City performances. After a night under the stars, the young lovers lose contact when Lyla's domineering father whisks her out of the city.

Eight months later, back in the city, a very pregnant Lyla is hit by a car while fleeing from an argument with her father. She wakes up in the hospital to hear him tell her she's lost Louis' baby, but she harbors doubts. Eleven years later we meet Evan (Freddie Highmore), a child living in an upstate NY orphanage. He has an incredible gift; he hears music in everything... from wind chimes to high tension wires. He knows that someday his mother and father will find him, and that playing beautiful music is the way he will draw them to him.

Escaping from the orphanage, Evan wanders the city until he falls under the influence of a Dickensian Fagan-like character named Wizard (Robin Williams) who recognizes the boy's prodigious musical talent, renames him August Rush and begins to promote him for his own less-than-noble purposes.

The film is most inspiring as we observe August developing... creating thrilling music on the guitar, piano and pipe organ, attending the Julliard School, composing a symphonic Rhapsody, and rehearsing it with the New York Philharmonic. Meanwhile, on his death bed in Chicago, Lyla's father makes a confession, and Lyla frantically begins to search for her son; at the same time, in San Francisco, Louis begins to search for Lyla.

The film's most satisfying aspects are Freddie Highmore's performance and the beautiful soundtrack. Not surprisingly, there's a happy ending at the Concert in Central Park; however, a more satisfying reunion of Lyla and Louis, and a smaller, less threatening role for Williams (who has become a caricature of himself), would have made the film even more rewarding for grownups, and more inspiring for musically-inclined children. 

Labels: drama, music, romance

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 38/100
Tomatometer (critics=37, viewers=82)

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