There are some movies that go above and beyond to get any kind of reaction. There are those who litter the film with excess gore or nudity to pander to a particular audience, and at the other end of the spectrum, you have films that employ things that try to pull at the heartstrings.
“August Rush” is that movie, but with an overabundance of what could be sob matter.
Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) aka August Rush is an abandoned child living in an all boy’s school/reformatory. The older residents pick on him and even his one friend calls him a freak.
However, this does not get him down, mainly because he listens to the music the wind makes, and can feel his parents’ love through it. Or something.
What he does not know is that one parent, cellist Lyla Novacek (played by Keri Russell) thinks he died due to her being struck by a car before his birth and his guitar playing-lead singer of an Irish rock band, father Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) does not even know he exists. (One-night stand, but they wanted to be together after. Stupid meddlesome father (William Sadler).
Evan feels that through his music he can bring his parents together which compels him to run away one night to seek them out.
His search leads him to Busker Arthur (Leon G Thomas III) who then leads him to the disturbing “Wizard” who puts kids with musical talent out on the street to perform and then takes their money. He discovers the musical prodigy that is August Rush, so kudos for that? But jeers for taking him out of Juilliard while he is conducting his piece that will be played in Central Park, thereby bringing both his mother and father together after 11 years of being separated. *phew*
I say that Wizard (Robin Williams) is disturbing because most of the time he was on screen, I found myself wanting to stick my head into a tuba until his parts were over. It’s like the director, Kirsten Sheridan, said to him, “You need to amp up the annoying factor and the overacting. Right now, you’re at a 10, but it can go to 11. Let’s do another take and get it right this time.”
This movie lays the mushy and sometimes overacting on so thick that I do not think even Beethoven could play his way out of it, but I think this would probably be a good movie for a music appreciation class, or for those who love a sad, but ultimately feel good story.
Despite “August Rush” being painstakingly sentimental, not all is wrong with the movie. The music scenes were great, especially the one where August unknowingly meets his father. Freddie Highmore was adorable in his role and Keri Russell still has great hair.
I gave this film a C-
Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.