August Rush

The 2007 film reviewed.

Evan is growing up in Walden County Home for Boys, in New York, never having known his parents but believing always that one day he will find them. It is a belief not shared by the other young residents of the home about their parents, and which makes Evan an outsider within the home. He doesn’t fit in but he does have an extraordinary talent for music. Not just for playing but for composing too. It is as if he can feel the music of the world, of life and has found a way to let others in hear what he hears naturally.

Running away from the boys home at 11 years of age, it is this musical gift that helps Evan to survive the big, bad New York City. Unfortunately it is that same gift that helps get him into trouble along the way.

From the time Evan reaches New York City, the movie takes on the feel of Charles Dickens story, published in 1838, Oliver Twist. As you might guess Evan is the shadow of Oliver, meeting Arthur (Dickens’ Jack Dawkins/Artful Dodger) who in turn introduces him to Maxwell ‘Wizard’ Wallace (Dickens’ Fagin), played brilliantly, and against type, by Robin Williams. Wizard(/Fagin), runs a team of street children as busking musicians and spotting Evan’s talent, reckons he can make money using him and gives him the performing name, and eponymous film title, August Rush.

Through a series of adventures and mis-adventures, with Wizard, a young choir girl and one of New York’s premier music schools. Whilst at the school, Evan/August composes a rhapsody that is performed in Central Park, that becomes instrumental (pun intended) in uniting the family.

The film was highly acclaimed although it did not win any Oscars. The story is told in flashback for all the major players at various points. A type of story telling that does not appeal to me. What the film does convey is hope; Evan/August never looses his faith that one day he will find his parents and that it is music that will help him to do it. The film has a sentimental feel, which it conveys without ever sinking into mawkishness.

The film stars Freddie Highmore as August Rush/Evan Taylor, Keri Russell as Lyla Novacek, Jonathan Rhys Myers as Louis Connelly and the well known Robin Williams as Maxwell ‘Wizard’ Wallace

August Rush has been described as a modern day fairy tale; I would describe it as a modern day Oliver Twist.

“You know what music is? God’s little reminder that there’s something else
besides us in this universe” – Maxwell ‘Wizard’ Wallace (Robin Williams)

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