August Rush (2007)

It’s funny; I’m usually the type of person who keeps abreast of movies worth watching, whether they’re new or not, but with this movie, I found out I was one of the last in my extended circle to know about this.

Before I get on with my rambling opinions, let’s get the synopsis out of the way, shall we? August Rush tells the story of Evan Taylor, an orphan with a gift for music. He is considered by those who know or have met him as either a freak or a musical genius. He dreams of finding his parents, and at every moment he is given to produce music, he does so in the hopes that his parents hear him and claim him.

It sounds like a very touching movie, and it is, actually, if you bother to sit down through the whole thing. This child’s journey through the streets of New York in search of music and his parents is portrayed as poignantly as possible, which is pretty much code for “tear-jerking.” For the less critical and more emotional, buckets of tears may have been shed by the movie’s end already.

My problem? It’s all too contrived. Excuse me for being jaded, but it is. A kid who can hear music all around him? I don’t doubt that, but to compose a concerto after a 1-minute lesson of the basic musical notes? Uhm. Hell no. It would’ve been more easily believable if Evan Taylor, musical genius, had composed it during his stay at one of the top school for the arts, but nope. The writers wanted to emphasize his musical genius and add to the wonder of it all without stopping to think about a rational and logical reason for the kid’s being able to compose such a grand piece. On this part, the writers could have held back a bit. They have already established the genius of this kid, but there was no need to ruin the fantasy by adding more bullshit.

Another thing: the parents’ first meeting. Ah yes, the whole circumstance of a beautiful upper-crust lady meeting a dark and brooding rock star on the deck of a building while looking at stars. Romantic? Check. I got nothing against that, but tearing yourself up over a one-night stand and ruining your relationship with family? Uhm. Problem.

The whole movie runs solely on the premise of love and music and hope bringing everybody together without properly accounting for the poorly drawn plot and characters, hoping everybody goes along on the magic carpet ride. On one hand, August Rush is beautifully made, with beautiful shots of scenery and the people, but on the other hand, it’s just a long and boring melodrama.

It’s a ‘nice’ movie, but ‘nice’ never really got anybody or anything anywhere, has it?


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