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 parents he has never met.
From FINDING NEVERLAND to CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, Highmore has displayed an almost prodigious talent himself. He's a gifted young actor, and this emotional story is the perfect venue for his acting. AUGUST RUSH isn't a film for the cynics, but even the hard-hearted in the audience will have difficulty not being touched by this sentimental film. As in Evan's life, music plays a central role in AUGUST RUSH, and it's tough not to let your heart soar along with the melodies. Though it could draw comparisons to OLIVER! and ANNIE, this is a unique and heartwarming film.
I've wanted to see this movie since it came out in theatres almost 2 years ago, but I never did. Though it's been in my Netflix queue for awhile, it finally made its way up to the top, and I watched it over the weekend.
I must have been in the right frame of mind for it, because I ended up enjoying it much more than I imagined I would. Part of the reason is because I am completely in awe of music, and I can relate to Evan (August Rush) on some level with his affinity for it. He hears music everywhere - in the trees, in a dog barking, in the dribble of a basketball. To him, he's able to create something wondrous and beautiful out of seemingly unrelated sounds. The music flows through him, and he harnesses its sound to create something powerful and harmonious.
Evan has an unwavering belief that his parents are out in the world looking for him, and that the only way they will find him is through the music they gave to him. He leaves the boys' home he's lived in for the last 11 years to go search for them. His journey leads him to New York, a place filled with incredible music, but also a place that can be dangerous and scary for a young boy. He ends up under the wing of a street performer, who takes Evan in, acting as a paternal figure, in a fashion. But his eyes are on a bigger prize as he tries to intimidate Evan out of his desire to find his parents. However Evan will not be swayed. His belief in the music and its connection to his parents is too strong, and soon he finds himself in an incredible situation that will allow his music to be heard by thousands.
Meanwhile, Louis and Lyla, have felt something missing for over ten years, after they spent one magical night together. Circumstances tore them away from each other back then, but neither has forgotten, and though they put away their music as a way of moving on, eventually they find their way back to it. Lyla learns that the son she thought she'd lost in an accident is very much alive, and Louis realizes that his desire to find the woman he cannot forget is too strong to ignore. So they both go in search of their past, not realizing what a precious gift awaits them...
Yes, I cried during this movie. I was moved by the music; Lyla's concert performances, Louis' bar band, and most especially Evan's incredible symphonies. It's a sappy movie, but sweet as well. The music keeps it from being too cheesy, I think. But who cares if it didn't, because I love cheese! The film focuses on August and his journey to find his parents, and also how music has always lived within him. I loved how even the most unlikely sounds could bring a smile to his face.
I liked Keri Russell as Lyla. She plays this heartbroken, lovely woman with such dignity. She's fragile but has a stronger side to her, and I thought she was the perfect choice to play August's mother. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a bit more removed, but there is a sweet scene between him and August that made me smile. One thing I thought was cool is how they let Louis (JRM) be Irish. I could listen to him talk all day. I'm not a huge JRM fan, but I have flashes where I can totally understand his appeal. Freddie Highmore was August, no question. And the ending of the movie was just right. I cannot picture it happening any other way.
So yeah, if you are in the mood for a sentimental movie and you haven't seen this, go check it out. I loved for the music alone, but the love stories are quite nice as well.
Added bonus: Marshall, Louis' brother, is played by Alex O'Loughlin, who also played Mick in the short-lived t.v. show "Moonlight". I'd like me some of that ;)
Rating: **** out of *****