Rushing In: The new music filled movie called August Rush seems more like one of those late summer sleepers that you would actually see in August than one of the movies competing for attention in the crowded movie release weekends of November. That said, please take the time to see this movie.
The film starts out with Lyla Novacek (played by the ever radiant Keri Russell) finishing a concert at a NYC concert hall. She soon meets rocker Irishman Louis Connelly (played by pouty lipped Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Before you know it, they are spending the night on top of a rooftop and waking up the next morning with Lyla needing to run back to her old life. Of course it doesn't help that she has an overbearing and controlling father. I did keep wanting to say, "Grow up, you're an adult and can make your own decisions." But if that had happened, there wouldn't be two hours of drama and excitement.
Soon, Lyla discovers she is pregnant and when she has an accident, she is told her child dies. The scenes of Louis and Lyla are interspersed with those of orphan Evan Taylor (played wonderfully by Freddie Highmore, the talented actor who played Peter in Finding Neverland) who is convinced that if he can keep hearing and playing the music, he will find his parents.
Eventually, eleven years after giving birth, Lyla discovers that her child is still out there. She soon begins the quest to find him. She seeks the help of detective Richard Jeffries (a wasted Terrence Howard).
The film builds to the inevitable conclusion, however, the wonder and exhilaration of this movie is the theme of hearing music in everything. This is the gift of Evan, who with the help of the Wizard (creepily played by Robin Williams), comes up with the name of August Rush. August's gift is he can hear and play music, anywhere. August soon becomes a student of Juilliard and composes his own symphony, and when told that the school wants to have his symphony performed at a concert in Central Park, August is convinced he can reach his parents; we are too.
The movie borders on too cutesy at times and there's never a doubt as to what will happen but the music and the actors take this movie above mediocre. Another issue I had with this movie was Williams. I know he is versatile and can play crazy and quirky with the best of them but I think it's time for him to play "normal" for a change.
This is a feel good movie and Highmore carries the movie well. This young actor was denied an Academy Award nomination three years ago, and while he probably won't be nominated for this role, he proves that he has some real acting chops. He will have a long and rewarding career if he continues picking the right roles.
Between eating turkey sandwiches and shopping for the millionth Christmas gift, see this gem of a movie and leave the theater feeling good and hearing the music in the shuffling of the feet of people walking up the aisles.
Bags of popcorn (out of 5): 4