Runtime: 1 hr 54 min
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Kirsten Sheridan
Starring: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Robin Williams, Terrence Howard, William Sadler, Marian Seldes, Alex O'Loughlin
Silly and sappy, AUGUST RUSH.
Review by: SteveRhodes
Added: 7 years ago
There is a lot of talent wasted in AUGUST RUSH, a would-be weeper that comes across remarkably flat. Let's start with Freddie Highmore. You'll remember him as Charlie Bucket in the recent remake of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. In the lead role as young August Rush, an eleven-year-old musical prodigy in the making, Highmore consistently speaks only in whispers, as if to underline his every trivial thought. His expressions are just as monotonous, always looking tragically sad but supremely confident that he'll be the only kid at his orphanage who will find his parents.
Two terrific actors, Keri Russell (WAITRESS) and Jonathan Rhys Meyers ("The Tudors"), deliver lifeless but overly earnest performance as Lyla Novacek and Louis Connelly, August's long lost parental units.
Lyla is a renowned concert cellist that the New York Philharmonic wants to return to them. After having lost her only baby -- which, she was told by her father, had died at birth -- she has been teaching music in Chicago, while avoiding playing any herself.
Meanwhile in San Francisco, Louis, a onetime folk-rock singer, has become a very wealthy businessman. Like Lyla, he isn't happy, however, since he still pines for the girl (Lyla) with whom he had a one-night stand in New York City eleven years ago. He doesn't realize, of course, that there was an off-spring created from their tryst. And neither of them knows that August is alive and attempting to find them by "following the music," as he puts it.
In a story filled with wildly improbable events and settings, August comes to live in an "Oliver Twist" world. In a gorgeous old theater, now in ruins, a whole host of kids live without the police or Child Protective Services bothering them. Overacting as usual, Robin Williams plays a Fagin-like character named Wizard who supposedly takes care of the children while actually exploiting them.
And speaking of Child Protective Services, no actor is more wasted than Terrence Howard (Oscar nominee for HUSTLE & FLOW), who is given absolutely nothing to do except look serious and concerned as a Child Protective Services agent.
The film doesn't even believe in the music which purports to be a central ingredient to the plot. The music is used only a plot device to move the narrative along. Most of the musical numbers are on the lame side of bland.
The very predictable plot ends exactly as you would expect. Silly and sappy, AUGUST RUSH is filled with one scene after another which doesn't go anywhere in particular.
AUGUST RUSH runs 1:54. It is rated PG for "some thematic elements, mild violence and language" and would be acceptable for all ages.