Thursday, October 09, 2008

August Rush

"I believe in music the way some people believe in fairy tales," says young Evan at the beginning of August Rush.

And thus we know that we're in for a magical fairy tale of a story, with a twist of Oliver and a lot of fun music.

In this contemporary, Dickensian tale, we first meet Evan at the orphanage where he has lived for "eleven years and 16 days." He's been counting. Music is sewn into the fiber of Evan's being. It's a gift from his parents, Lyla (a cellist) and Louis (an Irish rocker.) "Once upon a time, they fell in love," Evan tells us. They did, and Evan (later redubbed "August Rush" by the Fagin-like Wizard with whom he goes to live) was the result of their one night together. Separated by circumstances and Lyla's deceitful father, neither of them initially knows that Evan is out there somewhere (I don't want to spoil the unfolding of the story for you with details, details) but they know, somehow, that they have to find each other. The power and magic of music is what will bring them back together. And Evan knows it.

Keri Russell is appropriately luminous as Lyla (and later, so convincingly desperate to find her son) and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is appropriately tortured and dreamy as Louis. Freddie Highmore is just so perfectly cute that I could scoop him up from that orphanage and adopt him myself. Robin Williams is more than creepy and dangerous as Wizard.

My one little quibble (here's the Catholic mom in me) is that I would have loved it if Lyla and Louis's beginnings had been more classically a fairy tale. I would have had them secretly married (secretly, of course, because Lyla's controlling father would never let his classical cellist marry a rocker. And, since we're suspending all kinds of disbelief anyway, we could also suspend our disbelief that in the age of Google two people could remain separated for 11 years and 16 days without being able to track each other down) and then we could avoid explaining a one-night stand to children, so do take that into account if you're considering this one for the family. Though this particular one-night stand was magically redeemed by True Love, there's the problem of romanticizing what, in reality was a chance meeting of two people who didn't know the first thing about each other. Fodder for good conversation with kids old enough to understand.

Anne-with-an-e, Betsy and I loved this movie. Anne has already bought the soundtrack and I'm pretty sure the dvd is on someone's wish list. Magic, romance, danger, impossible obstacles to overcome, the king searching for his queen, and the lost, little prince finding lasting happiness ... August Rush has it all.

11 comments:

Theresa said...

Great review. I completely agree. We loved that movie so much. The music is mesmerizing and inspiring and the story is so fairy-tale-like. I also wished they had been secretly married, but I guess we can't have it all, can we?

Danae said...

What a great movie! And there is the theme of God guiding everything that is happening that is brought in by the pastor and his daughter, and I believe, the social worker.

patience said...

I wish I had seen this when it came out in the cinemas. We miss so many good films here. I shall definitely have to look for it on dvd, as I've been a fan of JR Meyers since the Gormenghast days, and who doesn't love a fairy tale? My only concern is - is the boy actor that child from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and just about every other children's movie since? He was cute once, but I swear we have three dvds here in which he is the lead actor.

Margaret in Minnesota said...

Excellent review, Karen. You don't need to tell them that I said this, but your girls are incredibly blessed to have you there with them on movie night. I could have used an auntie like you!

Karen E. said...

You're right, Theresa -- we can't have it all. :-) Danae, you're right about the divine Hand at work! Didn't you love that little girl? Patience, I have no idea what the Gormenghast days are, and so I'm off to Google. And Mags, I could have used an auntie like me, too. :-)

SuzanneG said...

Hi, Karen....popping over a bit for a little midnight-visit! I'm Enjoying catching up!

My neighbor and I watched this a couple months ago, after my sister recommended it. We LOVED IT! It definitely went on the "watch-with-kids-eventually" list!!! It's great! Good review.

La Familia said...

My husband and I enjoyed this movie too but my musically trained band director husband was quick to point out all the mistakes in the fake playing. The one that amused him the most was a close up of hands playing up the piano when the music was actually getting higher.

Anonymous said...

I agree! I was disheartened to see how much they romantacized their "love and romance" when in reality they knew each other for um..5-8 hours and it appears that they said (okay exaggerating here) 10 words to each other? Other than that whole part, the movie was an excellent fairy tale and left me breathless. I wish the ending would have been..more complete also.

Anonymous said...

I love Jonathan in this and have nit watch the Tudors yet but will this new season. I'm impressed he stayed in Ireland, so many coem to USA and forget the Irish Roots but he has not.
Irish Lass

Anonymous said...

Sorry I should have proof before the hit button

Irish Lass
Boston

Anonymous said...

Nobody has mentioned Freddie in the Movie
A Good Year , he was great in that also if you have not seen it rent it. Russell Crowe was great in it.