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August Rush is a 2007 drama film directed by Kirsten Sheridan and written by Paul Castro, Nick Castle, and James V. Hart, and produced by Richard Barton Lewis. It has been called an up-to-date reworking of the Oliver Twist story by Charles Dickens.

Plot

A boy named Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) grows up an outcast in a home for boys, all the while believing that his parents are alive. He can hear music in everything: the light, the wind, the air. He believes that he can hear the music from his parents. He thinks that they always wanted him and would come and get him someday.

He meets a social service worker, Richard Jeffries (Terrence Howard), of the New York Child Services Department. Evan tells him he does not want to be adopted. Mr. Jeffries likes Evan and gives him his card. He wants Evan to confide in him if the need should ever arise.

Through a series of flashbacks, his parents are revealed to be named Lyla Novacek, (Keri Russell), a famous teenage concert cellist, and Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), an Irish guitarist and lead singer of a rock band. His parents met at the same party and spent the romantic night together. Due to Lyla's strict father, Lyla was unable to meet Louis where she'd agreed to and they parted, apparently never to see each other again.

Lyla became pregnant with their child. Her father did not approve of this, he wanted Lyla to have a successful career without the obstacle of a child. After an argument with her father, Lyla ran out of a restaurant and was hit by a car. While in the hospital, she gave birth to a son. The last thing she was aware of was the nurses telling her that the baby's heartbeat was falling. She wakes. Her father tells her that her son died. Little did she know, her father forged her signature on the adoption papers. Her baby was fine. Both Louis and Lyla gave up their musical careers after losing each other, and neither was aware of their son's existence.

Evan has a very strong faith that if he could learn to play the music he will have a chance to be found by his parents. He believes that they will hear him. So he runs away to New York City. He meets Aurthur, a boy who was playing the guitar on a street corner for money. He follows Aurthur and is taken in by Maxwell Wallace, a.k.a. "Wizard" (Robin Williams), who houses various orphans and runaways, employing them to play music on the streets and taking a large cut of their tips. Evan immediately proves to be a musical child prodigy. Wizard enlists him and gives him the name "August Rush", convincing him he will be sent back to the orphanage if his real name is ever discovered.

Lyla only discovers that her son is alive when her father, knowing that he is dying, confesses what actually happened. Lyla immediately sets out to New York to look for her 12-year-old son. Meanwhile, she begins playing the cello again, having been called back to the New York Philharmonic. At about the same time, Louis reconciles with his bandmates.

After a raid by the police, Evan takes refuge in a church, where he again impresses with his natural musical talent and is enrolled at the Juilliard Schoolmarker as "August Rush." He proves to be excellent, better than the college students there, and a work he composes is chosen to be performed by the New York Philharmonic in Central Parkmarker. Unfortunately, Wizard barges into the dress-rehearsal, and Evan reluctantly follows him back to his life of performing music on the streets.

Meanwhile, Lyla has discovered Evan's identity and has decided to stay in New York while searching for her son. While there, she decides to resume her cello career. She is then chosen to play in the same concert, which features Evan's piece. Louis, being wrongly told that Lyla has since married, also returns to New York to resume playing with his former band. He has a chance meeting with Evan in Washington Square Parkmarker and they play music together, although neither knows who the other is.

The night of the concert, Evan finally chooses to run from Wizard in favor of performing at his concert. In the meantime, Louis races to the park when he sees Evan's pseudonym along with Lyla's name on a sign billing the concert. Evan conducts his piece, and at its conclusion, when he turns around to see Lyla and Louis standing hand in hand, he knows that he is reunited with his mother and father at last.

Cast



Music



The final number with Lyla and Louis begins with Lyla playing the Adagio-Moderato from Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor.

Except for "Dueling Guitars", all of August's guitar pieces were played by American guitarist-composer Kaki King, performing as her hands for the movie.

Composer Mark Mancina spent over 18 months composing the film's musical score. "The heart of the story is how we respond and connect through music. It's about this young boy who believes that he's going to find his parents through his music. That's what drives him." The final theme of the movie was composed first. "That way I could take bits and pieces of the ending piece and relate it to the things that are happening in (August's) life. All of the themes are pieces of the puzzle, so at the end it means something because you've been subliminally hearing it throughout the film." The score was recorded at the Todd-AO Scoring Stage and the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers.

Reception

In a review by USA Today, Claudia Puig commented that "August Rush will not be for everyone, but it works if you surrender to its lilting and unabashedly sentimental tale of evocative music and visual poetry." The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the film positively, writing "the story is about musicians and how music connects people, so the movie's score and songs, created by composers Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer, give poetic whimsy to an implausible tale."

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 36% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 110 reviews. "Consensus: Though featuring a talented cast, August Rush cannot overcome the flimsy direction and schmaltzy plot." On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 38 out of 100, based on 27 reviews.

Pam Grady of the San Francisco Chronicle called the film "an inane musical melodrama." Grady said "the entire story is ridiculous" and "Coincidences pile on, behavior and motivations defy logic, and the characters are so thinly drawn that most of the cast is at a loss." She adds "the ending of the movie certainly did not impress me at all. They worked so hard on the rest of it but it came to a sudden end that left the movie unfinished." Edward Douglas of comingsoon.net said it "doesn't take long for the movie to reveal itself as an extremely contrived and predictable movie that tries too hard to tug on the heartstrings."

Roger Ebert gave the movie three stars, calling it "a movie drenched in sentimentality, but it's supposed to be."

Jamila Gavin compared the film to Dickens' Oliver Twist and Coram Boy.

Awards

The soundtrack has songs from new and established acts. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song (Raise It Up).

Young Artist Award

2008 Won Category/Recipient(s)
  • Best Family Feature Film (Comedy or Drama)
  • Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor - Fantasy or Drama (Leon Thomas III)


Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA

2008 Won Saturn Award Best Performance by a Younger Actor

Freddie Highmore

References

External links




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