poster I had high expectations from seeing the trailer for this film months ago. It finally came out in Australia on Thursday and we went and saw it last night.

To say the film peaked at the trailer wouldn’t be an overstatement.

THE SET UP? Evan Taylor is eleven years old and he lives at a boys home in New York state. He doesn’t want to be placed with a family because he is waiting for his parents to find him, deep down he believes that they always wanted him. He stays sane in the face of rejection and bullying through music. He doesn’t have an ipod or anything but he finds music in everything, the wind, footsteps, etc etc. The audience soon learns the genesis of this budding music protege is his parents. A Juilliard trained classical cellist mother and a blue-collar irish rocker father. And their musical romance is a one-night-stand. Evan leaves the boys home and travels to New York to find his parents. The rest of the film is the journey of Evan, his mother and his father to finding each other, unsurprisingly, music is their guide.

Freddie Highmore is Evan Taylor (a.k.a August Rush). The London native does well in a near flawless American accent and few actors of his age are able to encapsulate pure joy as Highmore does in most of his roles, but excellently in August Rush. Surprisingly for a young actor, even if he is the central character, Highmore gets top billing and it is well deserved.
cellistKeri Russel plays Lyla Novacek, the cellist. I’ve had a girl-crush on Russel ever since Felicity. Just to look at her onscreen is a joy, but in this she actually pulls off the Juilliard trained cellist well. And in most parts, the seeking mother is well realised too. On a side note, there is something ridiculously sensual about cellists that I find totally alluring (in a 100% platonic way).
I wish I could say the same for Jonathan Rhys Meyers. (I’ve had the opposite of a crush on him since Bend it but I’m not letting that little thing get in the way of an objective assessment of his performance). Meyers falls short as the irish front man, Louis Connelly, and love interest to Russel’s character. Something about him seemed like it didn’t fit – a round peg in a square hole type situation. It seems Meyer’s is trying his best but it just isn’t working for him. I personally believe they needed a slightly more masculine ‘leading man’ opposite Russel’s sweetness. But Meyer’s isn’t the only mis-cast actor in this film.
Another is Robin Williams. Though I haven’t mentioned his character in the set up, Williams plays Wizard – a kind of Fagin (from Oliver Twist) who fosters Evan’s budding musical gift (for his own gain). Its kind of hard to express how Williams is a mis-cast here, but saying he is ‘faganesque’ would lead you to see my point.
Terrence Howard with his beautiful, dewey eyes plays the child services officer handling Lyla’s claim. Howard is not a mis-cast here and brings great depth to the amount of screen time awarded to his character.

fagan and oliver WHY YOU SHOULD SEE THIS FILM? As to be expected the music is rather spectacular. There is some likable rhythmic editing around the better musical pieces. The performances, with the exception of Howard, all lack something, the something is less in Russell and Highmore than others. The characters are developed but Highmore’s character in the middle and towards the end seems to clash with what the audience has learnt thus far about him. Also SPOILER ALERT the ending is too abrupt, as the audience we have journeyed with these characters as they seek to find truth through the whole film and the moment where they find each other is over practically before it begins.
Its not a must see, let me put it that way. But it is a rather cute fairy tale style story of love.

WHO SHOULD YOU SEE IT WITH? Preferably someone not like me, who will laugh inappropriately and snicker at the tragic lines.

one night thangANYTHING TO KNOW ABOUT? Not really. Although, just on a personal note, it bugged me how they totally romanticised and glorified what was a one-night-stand between Lyla and Louis. -But this is true to the fairy tale template.



3 Responses

  1. ha ha.
    i saw a sbs movie review about this movie, and the guy said he laughed through the whole thing. unfortunately, it was supposed to be taken quite literally and seriously.

    oh well, i don’t think i’ll see it anyway, unless i can laugh through the whole thing and not get boo’d out of the cinema.

  2. I saw this film the other night. Unlike Jess, my expectations were low. We wanted to see a film but anything else on didn’t appeal or we had already seen. In my sheltered life, I had never even heard of August Rush.
    And I loved it. OK – The plot is amazingly fanciful and sentimental. A one night stand – a very irresponsible one involving unsafe sex when I dont think they could even claim to be drunk – turns into a memory that drives the life of the three people involved – the two musicians and their lost son.
    But the acting was great, and the concept of hearing and following the music was beautiful.
    And it was so good to go to a film that had hardly any sex, one small act of violence and no swearing . No wonder I hadnt heard of it before!!
    I agree that the ending could have been drawn out more but maybe that would have been just too much feel-good. Generally, I was not bored, shocked, sickened or depressed and I came away feeling happy. What more could you ask.

  3. Thanks for your comments Sandra!
    Its great to get a different people’s opinions, especially if they are different to mine!
    You are right in that it was nice and refreshing to have a movie experience that was safe – and though it could have taken different artistic or casting decisions (as I harped on about) it is nice sometimes to see a movie and come out of it without having felt your personal morality was largely violated.
    I hope that directors can get all elements working well though!
    Please comment again when you feel the urge.

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