Jaq's Review: August Rush - Sounds Good!
by Jaq Greenspon
November 17, 2007
August Rush couldn't be more of a fairy tale if it started with "once upon a time" and ended with "happily ever after." And it will leave you feeling just as good as all those fairy tales you remember from your youth.
The plot is simple: Eleven-year-old orphan Even (Freddie Highmore) knows his parents are out there somewhere because he can "hear" them. He is weird and bullied and determined. Meanwhile, we get the back story on his parents, a pair of star-crossed musicians, a classically trained concert cellist (Keri Russell) and the singer of an Irish bar band (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who meet under a full, New York moon and spend one wonderful evening together, falling hopelessly, irrevocably in love. Yes, this is the kind of world where people can fall instantly in love and it will last an eternity… even if that night is the only one they have.
Even makes his way to New York and falls in with Wizard (Robin Williams), a Fagin-like Pied-Piper who awakens the prodigiously huge musical talent within the boy, renames him August Rush and looks to him to be his own salvation. And that's as much of the plot as you're going to get from me. You need to see it for yourself to see how it all plays out. I will tell you this, there are few surprises but it's not about the destination - that's pretty much determined from the get go - instead it's more about the journey to get there.
This film is something rare in today's cynical film scene - it's unabashedly sentimental. It wears its heart on its sleeve and isn't ashamed of doing so. In this way, it invites you to be a part of the magic. You, as an audience member, need to simply accept and let the film flow over you. There are logic problems, sure, and the willing suspension of disbelief is necessary but it is well worth it. If you let it, August Rush will fill you with a bit of the magic of the world.
Now, on to what I'm paid to do… the technical aspects of the film are slightly lacking. Director Kirsten Sheridan feels slightly shaky behind the camera, at times letting the reality overtake the fantasy she has created but, as this is only her second feature, I'm sure this is just a matter of her experience not being up to the task set for her by her creative vision.
The cast is wonderful. Keri Russell, who turns in her second magical performance of the year (Waitress was the first), is rapidly becoming a reason to see a film. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is understated and calm, in a role which could have easily gone the other way and Freddie Highmore, with his angelic smile, makes you believe he can really feel the music. The only misstep in casting is Robin Williams. He tries, but has a very hard time over-coming his smirk to really turn in the credible performance of which we know he is capable.
Finally, though, something should be said about the soundtrack. As a movie about the music which surrounds us all, the soundtrack had to be superb and in this, the filmmakers did not fail. The music department really comes through, creating the necessary soundscape to make this a complete movie. In the end, August Rush is a film to see now, while it's fresh and in the theatres. It will remind you there is good in the world.
Reader Feedback - 9 Comments
Thank you! A critic who gets that a movie does not have to be believeable to be enjoyable! This was a wonderful, and yes, different, movie about all the magic music contains. Don't wonder if all the elements are possible, just sit back and enjoy, let the music come to you.
Hallie on Nov 21, 2007
So first of all the music in the movie itself was bad. The acoustic song by the father that the movie kept coming back to was the most generic and sappy song I've heard. The argument you make is that if you ignore how illogical the movie is than it's enjoyable. Well can't that be said about any crappy movie that exists? If you ignore the elements that make the movie terrible, well then the movie is ok. But you can't ignore the fact that this movie is a copy of every other fairy tale ever made. The kid is bullied in an orphanage. People fall in love, people come together. The first lines of the movie had me laughing, by the end I wanted to cry, vomit, and leave. By your standards any person on the street is capable of writing a fairy tale story. I was okay with excepting that music is magic. That illogical part I could understand. But the general interactions of characters didn't make sense. The one nigth stand that's romantic. The father who returns to the band where he was bullied and punched in the face. Seriously, he goes back to visit and a guy in the band punches him, then he decided to rejoin to band that only existed because he was a part of. I jokingly asked for my money back after seeing it and they gave it to me! This was the worst movie I have ever seen, but if you are mentally handicapped and don't understand common social interactions, you might find this movie entertaining.
Kevin Wnek on Nov 22, 2007
Alex, Dude you are kidding when you say that August Rush deserves a 9/10 right? Right? My friend titled that BS movie in his review 'RUSH out of the theater’. I couldn't walk out during the film because I am too polite but I hated this film so much it put me in a nasty mood. This piece of manipulative crap stole 2 hours of my life!! You must thrive on bad acting, bad cinematography and bad storytelling supported by bad music. I saw this entire story play out in the first five minutes. You actually like Robin Williams playing an evil BONO? C'mon. That kid, oh my god could he be more stiff? How many times do I have to see the Symphony in the Park sign shot? I think the filmmakers cut to that shot about 6 times in 5 minutes. Like we didn't know they were all gonna "meet happy" in the park during the symphony? Unbelievable. Lowest common denominator. This film is handled with the deft touch of bulldozer. I have been writing movie reviews for 11 years now and this thing was one of the all time worst. The entire film played out so false and incidently everyone I ran into after the film seemed to have similar sentiments. Anyway not to be too harsh but I am calling your bluff on a bloated piece of Hollywood crap. WORST FILM OF 2007! But on another note there were some really great films at SDFF '07, by the looks of the bolded films in your blog I would have to guess you missed many of them. Best to see the big films that will be screening at the mall in Colorado Springs like; Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, because that work of art will not be easy to track down in every theater and rental shop in the world. "Although you won't care much about this fest unless you live in Denver" Oh and if you want to dog the Starz Denver Film Festival in it's 30th year by the preceding statement, why don't you also dog on David Ansen head film critic of Newsweek or maybe the critic from Variety, or the RABBI from the Rabbi report or the many Festival Directors, Managers, Directors, Actors, Sales Reps that attended this year from around the world. You my friend are kind of foolish. R. Mann on Nov 21, 2007
R. mann on Nov 23, 2007
Kevin Wnek- You annoy me, grow up child.
Steve on Dec 1, 2007
To Kevin Winek: Did you pay any attention to the movie? The "father" as you put it, which from your rant I am guessing is Lewis, is the brother of the "guy in the band [who] punches him". He leaves the band because he was heart-broken and lost the music within him. He leaves his whole life to go make a completely different one in San Francisco. I imagine his brother and him were very close. If you listened to what they said while they pushed each other, Lewis said "Hit me. I'm suffocating here." or something along those lines. I understood from that part that for 11 years, he's been wanting to reconcile with his brother, and he seemed very restrained by his life in San Francisco. That punch must have released something in him. And the Connelly brothers probably beat each other up whenever they messed up or something. Brothers can be weird like that. By the way, he wasn't being BULLIED within the band. His brother was trying to keep him in the band because he did not want his brother to throw his life away because of one night with Lyla. If you paid attention to the movie, you might have understood that part. As for the music, you might not like it, but a great number of people loved it. It's all about taste, so let's not argue over that. The story was beautiful, sweet, simple and clean. As opposed to so many movies that come out filled with sex and violence, it was good to just sit and take in a fairytale-like movie. It had flaws of course, many actually, as most movies have. It was mostly predictable too. However, overall, I thought the movie was a cute one due to the acting. Granted, Williams wasn't the right actor to play Wizard, but I thought Highmore and Russell were the highlights of the movie. Meyers was competent in the little he was given to do. I especially liked the scene where "August Rush" and Lewis met at the park. To R. mann, the reviewer a la extraordinaire, I have watched worst movies this year than this movie. So please, do not claim to know so much when obviously this type of movie is not of your taste. You seem incapable to give the slightest credit to movies you don't like, it seems. This movie does not pretend to be Festival-material. It's meant to be enjoyed for the fairytale it was made to be. Maybe reviewing all these artsy or violence-filled movies have made you a cynical person unable to just sit and enjoy a refreshing movie, devoid of guns, bloodshed, or realism. Some movies are meant for escapist purposes. You get out of real life and just live out another one, unrealistic and flawed as it was. Go back to the other movies of 2007, look carefully, you will probably find a dozen deserving of "Worst Movie of 2007" than August Rush. I can name one right here , right now : Superbad. Ok? Personally, compared to Superbad, this movie is a masterpiece. Talk about torture.
Nish on Dec 4, 2007
This movie was the most amazing movie I went to see in 2007. Say what you may, but nothing can take the magic out of this movie. I guess it just takes a certain type of person to appreciate this work of art. Thankfully we still have a few of those people left in this world.
Emery on Jan 3, 2008
TELL ME WHEN THE MOVIE COMES OUT!!!!!! CRA BA
chimy changa on Jan 6, 2008
It's Pure . . . just a pure movie . . .
Spartacus on Mar 31, 2008
Yeah..... so guy meets girl, fucks on roof top after saying 3 sentences... then now they are bound to be together forever and ever...magical huh?? kid comes out of mothers stomach.. goes to orphanage where he is conducting grass in the beggining... he hears the music in the wind? in the basket balls bouncing around i mean come on... he lears E F G on the piano and starts writing a symphony after never knowing anything about music or even how to write and read music...definetly not believable... plays piano, guitar and after 2 weeks knows how to conduct an orchestra,, magical.. i think not.. crappy, corny is how i'd put it... only a dumbass would believe even a prodigy will play the guitar and piano without having an idea what they even are... and P.S a little girl would not let some kid from nowhere sleep under her bed and act like nothing happended... wtf??
Jay on Aug 21, 2009
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