This little musically themed flick was something that I had heard about repeatedly from friends and critics over the past few years. I had never had the chance to see it til I eventually just borrowed it from one of them. Here be what I thought.
August Rush is the story of a boy who grows up in care with a keen sense of musicality, despite never once touching a musical instrument. That is, until he moves to New York.
Now I know what you’re thinking:
!Now this is a story all about how, my life got flipped turned upside down, and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, let me tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air.”
But no, for our little August it did not quite happen that way. However, it is true that he did discover he had a rare, integral ability when it came to music, an innate, natural capacity to play instruments and compose, hereditary skills apparently gained from his parents.
The reasons for him growing up in care help form the foundations of the movie. The pivotal themes surround a torn family, personal discovery and re-discovery and music, as a means of healing, of life and of joy.
We follow not only August but his mother and father as they embark on their own personal journeys. They traverse parallel paths, riddled with obstacles, battling with blind faith in the worth of what might be at the end. They seem to contain a knowledge somehow that the loved ones they once lost will be there if they can only reach that grand finale.
The trials encountered by these people constitute one of the most genuinely touching movies I think I have ever seen, with moments so poignant and beautiful that their sweetness evokes the closest thing to a little heartbreak as I have ever experienced from a film.
A gorgeous soundtrack featuring Jonathon Rhys Myers, who plays Augusts father, carries the Fairytale in New York theme. Rhys Myers features several times throughout and imoresses with a suitably husky and mature voice, befitting of his rough around the edges, desperately romantic Irish musician character. One cannot help but instantly fall for that lopsided grin and guitar combination – an Irish musician? Really? If you can resist then you have a will of iron!
As for August himself, a young Freddie Highmore was perfectly cast as the bambi eyed, pure-as-fresh-fallen-snow was the perfect cast. Portrayed with both a convincing naivety towards the darker inner natures of people as well as a powerful will to survive, we see the realisation of a brilliant childs dream. Yet the focus of his tribulations lie in beautiful, temporal things rather than outright survival; music, family, love. These needs are a reflection of August as a pure and immaterial youth.
This movie will do something to your soul. Whether it re-affirms your faith that there are still people capable of living simple lives and taking pleasure from the immaterial; whether it brings solace in the understanding that families can find each other, regardless of time or distance; or even that music really can burrow a route to a freedom you believed you had lost, may only be decided by you.
Watch this, at some point. Suitable for men, women, kids, hell, even the dog might enjoy ot! (my cat purred through the entire thing, if that helps at all)
9 1/2 out of 10