How Old Is The Boy Who Played Oliver Twist Movie August Rush – Family Movie Review

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August Rush – Family Movie Review

Mom movie rating: 1 out of 5

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Robin Williams, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard

Direction: Kirsten Sheridan

Opening hours: 1 hr. 53 min.

MPAA rating: PG for some thematic elements, mild violence and language.

Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) is an 11-year-old boy who has spent his whole life in an orphanage. Although he never knew his mother and father, he believes he has a cosmic connection with them through music. He flees to New York, hoping that the music he hears in his head will help him find his parents. There he discovers that he is a musical prodigy and takes on a new, more appropriate stage name: August Rush. Meanwhile, his parents are searching for themselves. His mother, a gifted cellist, Lyla Novacek (Keri Russell), has just learned that after 11 years, the child she thought had died was actually given up for adoption by her father. She goes to New York to visit Child Protective Services in an attempt to find her son. Evan’s father Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a rock-n-roll singer, doesn’t even know Lyla is pregnant. All he knows is that he fell in love with his one-night stand, and even though she promised to meet him the very next day, he never saw her again. Heartbroken, he spent the next 11 years trying to move on; but in the end he finds his way to New York because he also follows music.

August Rush is nothing more than a joke, an overdramatic, romantic dud with an incredibly unrealistic plot. While in New York, August often wanders around alone (sometimes walking straight into traffic), stopping every now and then to close his eyes so he can “listen” to the music all around him: car horns, basketball dribbles, traffic noise, footsteps, etc. It is not music, only sounds that he perceives as music. It is this “music” that supernaturally (and smilingly) leads him to the union with his parents. And that’s not all. In the city, August jumps from an abandoned theater where dozens of homeless, musical children live under the guardianship of the Wizard (Robin Williams) to an old gospel church where he learns to compose music and play the organ in one day to enroll at Juilliard and write his own rhapsody – all in an Oliver Twist-like way… a very juicy rendition of a timeless classic.

The cinematography is distracting, and I could feel my IQ dropping by the minute. The characters are stereotypical, and their development is non-existent. The entire cast disappointed me – even Robin Williams, although I’m inclined to believe it wasn’t his fault due to the terrible script. The lines are corny and predictable; Keri Russell has strange, jerky movements and facial expressions that remind me of a scaredy bird, and even though 11 years have passed, Lyla and Louis haven’t aged a bit.

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The best part of the movie is when any of the characters pick up an instrument and play – especially August, who has a very cool, original slapping style. You can almost get lost watching him play if you don’t look too closely at the fingers in the close-up shots. Definitely not the fingers of an 11-year-old, although I’ll give the filmmakers some leeway in that area.

It’s a relatively clean film with most of the inappropriate parts left to the imagination of the off-screen audience.

Other than that, I guess the only other positive note is Lyla’s continued persistence to find her son. It’s a touching element – a mother who just finds out her son is alive and frantically searches for him – despite the shallow plot.

CONS

Some parents may be offended by the way this movie glorifies Layla and Louisa’s one-night stand. Lyla even calls it “the most wonderful night of her life.” I find it hard to believe that the best night of her life was sleeping with a complete stranger on a dirty, old couch on a rooftop in New York. But in any case, Lyla and Louis are not very good role models for our children, nor do they ever make amends or apologize for their irresponsibility.

A few other areas to note are: a brief glimpse of a couple making out in the hallway; use of mild profanity; the fact that Evan/August runs away from the orphanage and opens himself up to a world of danger; and the dark, disturbing character of the Wizard, including one scene that might scare small children.

OVERALL

I have to be honest – I absolutely hated this movie. In fact, as I watched it, I could distinctly hear a soft screeching in the background…like fingernails on a chalk board. Wait, maybe it was just “music”.

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