August Rush

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +4

Content: +3

Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, Robin Williams. Music-driven Drama. Written by Nick Castle and James V. Hart. Directed by Kirsten Sheridan.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A charismatic young Irish guitarist (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and a sheltered young cellist (Keri Russell) have a chance encounter one magical night above New Yorks Washington Square, but are soon torn apart, leaving in their wake an infant, orphaned by circumstance. Years later, performing on the streets of New York and cared for by a mysterious stranger (Robin Williams) who gives him the name August Rush, the child (Freddie Highmore) uses his remarkable musical talent to seek the parents from whom he was separated at birth.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Ever see An Affair To Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr? Or Sleepless in Seattle with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? This new release has much in common with those two classics. Mainly, you have to set aside how life and love reality work. But if you are able to suspend reality, you are a romantic, one who believes that justice and love will triumph. If you are one of those folks, and despite the fact that Im a film critic and therefore must be a cynic, I am one of you, because I found August Rush to be one of the best films of the year.

Interestingly, Keri Russell, who plays the female lead, also starred in Waitress, my other frontrunner for best film of this year. Not only are these two films pro-life themed, but they ultimately celebrate life. Ms. Russell does a lot to make them believable and interesting. A fine actress, shes equally famous for her curly golden locks. She also possesses soul-revealing eyes, which just so happen to be lovely. (Yeah, I got a little crush.)

The elements of technology and artistry come together, as if magically, in this production. Even Robin Williams, who has disappointed with most of his recent film choices, gives the films main bad guy dimension as a Fagin-like hustler who uses kids to score a living. And certainly music is a main component of the films success. We are reminded by both the male lead and the films villain that we are all connected by music. The dialogue also manages to amuse and stimulate thought. When the journeying boy is asked what hed like to be most, he answers with a profound, Found.

Most importantly, the one responsible for the casting of Freddie Highmore as August deserves pats on the back, awards, whatever. We are indebted to that person, for young Highmore lights up the screen with a role that could have been limited by blandness, as has happened in many a film concerning Oliver Twist-like protagonists. This kid is a fine actor, able to portray emotion of every kind, and possesses perhaps the most engaging smile Ive seen in a long time. When this kid smiles, you feel joyous.

To top it off, the film contains spiritual themes, including the need for faith, scenes taking place in a church, church folk singing a song about not giving up, and someone saying that music is Gods reminder that we are all connected. The boy, who interprets the sounds of life as music, asks, Only some of us can hear it? The response: Only some of us are listening. The delivery of those two lines gives them a profundity. The lad is rescued at one point by members of a church. The minister asks a concerned little girl if shes prayed for August, to which she responds positively. The minister himself is portrayed as a good guy, not poisonously pious or fundamentally hypocritical, but real, a man involved in doing Gods work. And the final shot (no, Im not giving anything away other than the film has a happy ending), the boy looks up to Heaven as if saying thank you. I get teary just thinking about it.

Its a wonderful film, because like most of the great films, from Its A Wonderful Life to Casablanca, August Rush makes you feel hopeful and good. Ive seen so many Oscar contenders this year, but most of them deal with the dark nature of man. This one looks to those things that unite us the music around us, the hope of love, and the adventure of life. I dont know about you, but Im going to see August Rush again.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: The word pissed is used once. Im not for sure if this is an actual obscenity, but it is crude, isnt it?

Obscene Language: Three or four minor expletives (damns), but I caught no harsh language.

Profanity: One use of Oh my God, but I caught no other profanity.

Violence: The Fagin-like character bullies a kid; a woman is hit by a car off screen, placing her in the hospital, and a boy is also hit by a car this is jolting, but he is uninjured.

Sex: It is implied that the lead couple have had sex, which leads to the birth of the films little hero, but we do not see the act.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Members of a rock band drink beer in a couple of scenes.

Other: Though the young couple has had sex the very night of their meeting, it is not incorporated into the film to be exploitive, but to further the plot. It is not done to promote premarital sex. Indeed, the couple pays a price for the deed.

Running Time: 113 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Adults

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