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August Rush [Blu-ray]
August Rush
Actors: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, Robin Williams
Director: Kirsten Sheridan
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family
PG     2008     1hr 54min

There?s music in the wind and sky. Can you hear it? And there?s hope. Can you feel it? The boy called August Rush can. The music mysteriously draws him, penniless and alone, to New York City in a quest to find ? somehow, s...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, Robin Williams
Director: Kirsten Sheridan
Creators: Gabrielle Jerou, Lionel Wigram, Louise Goodsill, Miky Lee, James V. Hart, Nick Castle, Paul Castro
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Family Films
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/11/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 54min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

The Music that Brings Us Together
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 11/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

""August Rush" is a fairy tale. It doesn't have princes, princesses, evil stepmothers, witches, or big bad wolves, but it's a fairy tale nonetheless. And as such, it tells a story that resonates so strongly with its audience that it casts a magic spell. This movie is told in the language of music, and it exemplifies the harmonic connections between people, the rhythmic bonds that can never be broken in spite of distance and time. It's also told in the language of faith, of the belief that love will indeed conquer all. No, this is not a realistic idea, but that's not the point. Isn't it nice that we have films like this to escape to when realism is bringing us down? Isn't it wonderful when we find that one film that can raise our spirits? "August Rush" was that film for me, and I recommend it to anyone in need of a rejuvenating emotional boost.

The film stars Freddie Highmore as an orphan named Evan Taylor, a quiet yet determined musical prodigy. He was born as the result of a chance encounter between two musicians: an Irish rock guitarist named Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and a classically trained American cellist named Lyla Novacek (Keri Russell). While living in New York City, they met and separated through twists of fate--Lyla's controlling father (William Sadler) doesn't take the news of her unplanned pregnancy very well, and when she's hit by a car and injured, he uses that opportunity to make her believe that her baby did not survive. In reality, the baby was delivered and put into the legal system as a parentless orphan. Lyla and Louis go their separate ways, believing that they would never see each other again.

In the present day, their eleven-year-old son Evan lives in an orphanage with a number of broken-spirited boys. They're so disillusioned that they bully him into believing as they do. They constantly tell him that no one is coming for him, that his ability to hear music in everything makes him nothing more than a freak. And they will not stand for his belief that he actually hears the music of his parents calling out to him. But Evan refuses to sink to their level of hopelessness; he runs away to New York City, where the music seems to be beckoning him towards his destiny. It's there he meets Wizard (Robin Williams), a shady musician who houses a number of musically inclined children in an abandoned theater. He, too, is beaten down by life, so much so that he uses these children for his own financial gain. When he discovers Evan's natural ability to play the guitar, he gives him the pseudonym August Rush and forces him to perform in parks and on street corners.

Lyla, meanwhile, is living in Chicago as a music teacher. Single and without any children, she seems complacent yet stable in her new life. But all that changes when (1) she's offered a change to once again play with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and (2) she learns that her baby did not die eleven years ago. With a powerful yet unexplainable determination, she travels back to New York on a quest to find her long lost son, a quest that will hopefully be added by her playing of the cello. Hoping to help find Evan is Richard Jeffries (Terrence Howard), a social worker who met the boy when he was still living at the orphanage.

And then, of course, there's Louis, who has since gone on to be a businessman in San Francisco. His band members haven't forgiven him for leaving, least of all his brother, Marshall (Alex O'Loughlin). But worst of all, Louis hasn't been able to forgive himself, and upon seeing footage of himself performing on stage, he remembers the love he felt for Lyla. The memory is so strong that's he vows to reunite with her. This journey of finding lost love leads him from Chicago back to New York City, where he's inspired to rejoin with his band and restart his singing career. Much like his son--whom he doesn't know exists--Louis is a gifted guitar player; one can hear his passion and energy with every chord, and his music operates at the same frequency as Lyla's cello playing.

As you can probably tell, most of the film thrives on serendipity, and it gets more and more prominent with every passing scene. A kind-hearted pastor eventually takes Evan in, and when made aware of his musical genius, they send him to the Julliard School of Music. He composes a piece within the first six months of his stay, one that the faculty believes is good enough to be performed. Thus sets into motion the events leading to one of the most satisfying endings of any movie I've seen this year, a scene so touching that I was in awe. As I listened to Evan's "August's Rhapsody," I felt as if I had been enveloped in the folds of hope, love, and happiness; the earthiness of the chimes blended perfectly with the smoothness of the violins and the energy of the guitars, all of which made his unwavering faith in the power of connection perfectly clear.

This is the magic of "August Rush," a film so wonderful that I cannot recommend it enough. It's a modern day fable with a timeless message, and it comes across so well that I never once stopped to consider how implausible it is. Plausibility doesn't even come into play, here. What does come into play is the emotional impact, the sense that we can get something out of it if we surrender to pure fantasy. Evan opens the film by saying, "Music is all around us--all we have to do is listen." This is one of the year's best films, and if you keep that quote in mind when seeing it, you'll be more inclined to agree."
Music and the Harmony of the Universe: A Film for Dreamers
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/20/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"AUGUST RUSH will not go down in history as a profound film: many will even go so far as to dismiss it as kitsch, maudlin, and a simpleton take off on 'Oliver Twist', and other pejoratives. For this viewer the little film is tender and frequently requires suspension of belief, but in the end the idea of the story does indeed bring a tear to the eye.

Based on a story by Paul Castro and Nick Castle and transformed for the screen by Castle and James V. Hart, the premise is that of a fairytale, but an unusual fairytale built around the impact of music. On one magic night in New York City classical cellist Lyla Novacek (Keri Russell) and popular Irish guitarist/singer Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) meet on a rooftop, languishing in their own disappointments with life and finding solace in each other's arms, and that night Lyla becomes pregnant, never to see Louis again, and struggling to keep her baby despite her father's demands to abort. Lyla delivers her baby boy, but the child is immediately taken away (Lyla is told the child was stillborn). 'Evan Taylor' AKA August Rush (Freddie Highmore) is placed in an orphanage, longing for parents he believes he can 'hear' in the music of the spheres. Compelled to find his parents he escapes the orphanage after eleven years and is taken in by Faginesque Maxwell 'Wizard' Wallace (Robin Williams) who teaches his street urchins the fine art of pick pocketing and playing music on the streets as buskers. Renamed August Rush, Evan has uncommon musical talents and rapidly becomes a big money maker for Wizard while at the same time being discovered as a potential pupil for Juilliard by Reverend James (Mykelti Williamson) and his girl singer Hope (Jamia Simone Nash) with assistance from kindly social worker Richard Jefferies (Terrence Howard). August Rush composes a rhapsody that is to be played in Central Park, a chance to place his music before the world and attract his parents, both of whom have returned to music careers after eleven years absence and learn of the existence of August Rush, their 'unknown son'. And yes, the ending is a happily ever after one...

Kirsten Sheridan directs with a sure hand and a keen eye toward make believe. The cast is strong, especially Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and the musical score, a very mixed bag, provides a suitable background for the story. This is one of those movies that asks us to go along with a lot of improbable events, but the pleasure of the experience is worth the journey. Grady Harp, March 08"
"Music is Harmonic Connection between all living beings -- T
R. Kyle | USA | 11/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Some people hear the rhythm in a step, the strident beauty of a police siren, the whip of a powerline in the wind. Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) doesn't get a decent night's sleep in the orphanage because of it. His fellow inmates call him freak because he believes both his parents are living and they'll come for him--if only he call out with the music that connects them.

As he says, "I believe in music the way some people believe in fairy tales." So, Evan decides after eleven years and some days to escape the orphanage and go find the music--and his parents.

Even ends up in New York City with zero street smarts. He really doesn't even know how to cross the road. A fortunate encounter puts him near Arthur (Leon G. Thomas III), a street busker his age who's willing to help--for a price. Arthur introduces him to Wizard (Robin Williams) who gives musically talented street kids a place to stay in exchange for half their take. The Wizard quickly discovers that Evan, who he renames August Rush, is a prodigy and is making some plans for the lad.

Meanwhile, we learn that Even's mom Lyla Novacek (Kerri Russell) had only been with Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) one night. The Julliard educated cellist was in an accident while pregnant and her father decided to sign her name and give up her son--telling Lyla that he'd died. Instead of the stage career her father envisioned, Lyla mostly gave up music and taught--til Julliard called her for a special concert in Central Park.

Louis has always longed for Lyla, the girl who got away. He gave up his music and became a manager. When he brings a girl to meet his family, they play a song he'd written for the band after Lyla's departure from his life. He's determined to find Lyla. When he believes she is married, he ends up in New York with no particular goals in mind except to find his music again.

"August Rush" is just as much about the musical ties that bind us as the three people whose stories it tells. In my opinion, the best performances were the kids: Evan-August, Arthur and Hope (Jamia Simone Nash). This trio kept you captivated and cheering.

Of course, the soundtrack is fabulous. You have Kaki King on the guitar as well as vocals from John Legend and John Ondrasik (Five for Fighting fame). I'm ordering the soundtrack tonight and I really don't often like movie soundtracks well enough to order.

I wasn't the only person who'd give this film 5 stars. This is one of the rare films I've attended where many of the audience stood and applauded at the end. While this is a family film, I did notice that some of the younger children got restless and needed some explanation of what was going on."
...a heart-warming film with a rich narrative, visually dive
C.J. Darlington | 12/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"11-year-old Evan wants nothing more in life than to find his parents, or for them to find him. Labeled a freak by his fellow boys home residents it isn't long before he finds himself on the streets of New York in search of the mother and father he never knew. Like a fish out of water, the sights and sounds of the city that never sleeps are at once overwhelming and intoxicating. In every thumping foot, squealing tire, barking dog and rattling chain he hears a rhythm. Music. Harmonics no one hears but him. He knows if he just follows the music somehow his parents will find him. What he doesn't know is that his parents have no idea he exists.

Ten years ago his mother, Lyla (Keri Russell), a gifted celoist, was a young prodigy herself when she met Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), the talented lead singer and guitarist for an Irish rock band. Immediately they share a bond, and their night together changes everything. Can the power of music bring this family of strangers back together again?

Don't let the somewhat un-inspiring title August Rush fool you. This movie is a heart-warming film with a rich narrative, visually diverse settings, and a lush original music score. Freddie Highmore's spot-on performance as Evan, who soon takes up the moniker August Rush, immediately invokes our sympathy. We truly care what happens to this bright-eyed, innocent boy who hasn't let himself become jaded by his harsh environment. (If he looks familiar it's probably because of his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Finding Neverland fame. He played the lead child roles in both.)

But it's not just Highmore who carries this movie. Every actor nails their role beautifully. Keri Russell (perhaps known best for the TV show Felicity) is a natural on the screen, skillfully bringing to life the character of Lyla both as a naive young woman and a passionate mother. Robin Williams' supporting role as a music pimp to a brood of unwanted yet musically gifted children cinches that he can play the deeper roles right alongside his lighter comedy ones. You'll also want to take notice of Terrence Howard's performance as social worker Richard Jeffries, a man in the system who genuinely cares for the kids under his care but often finds his hands frustratingly tied.

A few times suspension of disbelief is called for as August Rush is more about the fantastic than the realistic. It's a little hard to believe Evan is able to play both the guitar and organ like a master (not to mention conduct an orchestra) without ever having seen or touched the instruments before in his life. But you really don't mind. This movie has enough heart to carry it above and beyond those moments. Its portrayal of music's magic, that powerful tug on the human heart and soul, sets it apart from your average film tackling the same subjects.

Parents will appreciate the filmmaker's tact in portraying Lyla and Louis' one-night stand. No more than the beginnings of a passionate kiss are shown. A few swear words (h-- and d--) probably aren't appropriate for youngsters since several are uttered by children, but they really did have their place in showing you the hard existence of some of the street kids.

August Rush reminds us that amidst the hardships there truly is some good left in this world. You'll come away from this movie with a greater appreciation of music's power, not to mention the power of love and family. Definitely worth seeing more than once.

--Reviewed by C.J. Darlington for TitleTrakk"