August Rush is a glorious music fairy tale that blends sordid reality with harmonious surreality that you can watch on gudanglagu. It is Charles Dickens meets the Grimm Brothers–or Hans Christian Andersen. A twelve-year old child prodigy, Evan Taylor, is looking for his parents. He believes that music is the conduit between him and them. The film’s majestic music of diverse genres carries its audience through a screenplay flecked with flaws and tiny time inconsistencies that yet impeccably serves up a delicious fantasy illustrating the story well and fully.
What is the story? As a moviegoer who adores teaser trailers and abhors tell-all spoilers, I will not outline the plot–August Rush is best watched rather than explained. How was the acting? Well, Freddie Highmore, the child prodigy, is very real, sweet, and sensational. There’s just something about him–whether it’s the dimples, the determined chin, or the eyes full of light. A show business veteran, he is yet refreshing. He is a truthful actor.
The rest of the cast is also remarkable. Handsome Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is musical in his own right–you may have seen him perform in the music-driven Velvet Goldmine (1998), with Ewan McGregor and Christian Bale. Beautiful Keri Russell emotes genuinely–she draws you into her world. In fact, she and Rhys-Meyers wear their roles as custom-made suits. Robin Williams plays a complex character we don’t learn enough about–but enough to understand his bitterness. Terrence Howard does his magic and underscores the simple and powerful story. Other veteran cast members complete the talented ensemble–check out young Leon G. Thomas III and ten-year-old Jamia Simone Nash.
With a brash mix of stereotypes and subtleties, August Rush is yet a unique film among unique films–it tells a story through sound. Although not a musical, it makes you feel the music with every beat of its pulsing energy. The extremes of the emotional spectrum live side by side and erupt into joy. If you feel tears in your eyes and elation in your heart, don’t be surprised.
The screenplay is by Nick Castle and James V. Hart, both multi-talented film industry denizens. The director is Kirsten Sheridan, daughter of renowned director Jim Sheridan. She is, however, a directorial force in her own right–August Rush should make her a star director. Funnily enough, she and Rhys-Meyers share the same hometown, in Ireland–both were born in Dublin.
Ultimately, August Rush lends insight as to how a musician–especially a musical genius–hears music in everyday life, from the whoosh of the wind to the snap of a plastic bag to the rapture of a rhapsody. Mark Mancina spent close to two years writing the score for August Rush. His heart shows in every cadent note.
On Valentine’s Day 2008, the film’s star, Freddie Highmore, will turn sixteen. His career is riding high–just as August Rush’s cast and crew, Highmore included, rode soaring musical compositions. August Rush is a well-told tale steeped in music. Expect to be enthralled.