Mother: I’m trying to find my son.
Woman at Desk: Name?
Mother: [in tears] I don’t know.

What a strange conversation to say the least, however, as far fetched as it may seem, it sets the stage for the fantasy, almost fairytale-ish, harshly criticized movie, August Rush.

August Rush posterMany may wonder why I chose a movie to review that critics hated. Afterall, I choose only movies that inspire me with the hope they will inspire you and the critics opinions and mine are generally close. Not this time. See, I love this film for a number of reasons they didn’t, the first being, it’s a feel-good movie. The world can use all the inspirational feel-good movies Hollywood or anyone else can produce!

My next reason is because of the acting. Released in 2007,  August Rush features stellar performances by actors Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers with an equally compelling yet dark, Oliver Twist-like Robin Williams doing his usual genius-level work but this time portraying the villian. Even the critics didn’t dispel the quality of the performances.

Another reason I’m a fan of August Rush is that I’m  a fan of music. Not just the average kind of  rock and classical music lover mind you because I used to make my living as a songwriter/producer so I was also drawn to the theme of music as being the sole vehicle that serves to reunite a family after parents and offspring finally meet for the first time in the closing scenes.

Let’s back up and begin explaining the opening conversation in this review.

A New York-based, aspiring cellist, and an Irish rock singer-songwriter, experience one magical night of passion after their respective gigs. Lyla Novacek is immediately separated from Louis Connelly by her controlling father and has become pregnant. She believes she has lost her son during childbirth as conniving dad has arranged for the baby be taken to an orphanage in order not to tarnish, and prevent, his daughter’s budding career. Louis, for years on the other hand, mourns the loss of “the one that got away” unaware of his offspring while Lyla goes on with her life. The musical prodigy they produced grows up believing the music he hears in his head will help him find his real parents. Yes, this is where things begin to go a tad over the top.

The 12 year-old then runs away from the orphanage and heads for New York. He finds himself in an abandoned wharehouse ‘shelter’ run by the ‘Wizard’ (Williams), who names him August Rush after a commercial truck with that moniker plastered on it rolls past. While this is happening, having learned her son is alive, Lyla goes on a mission to find him aided by social worker Richard Jeffries (Terrence Howard). Meanwhile,  Louis returns to his musical roots, retracing his steps to New York where he and Lyla met to find the love of his life. The synergy table is now set.

The young orphan, played by a charismatic Freddie Highmore, has been hearing symphonies in his head inspired by the every-day-city-sounds of  screeching brakes, skateboards, sirens and trains rumbling on tracks. The Wizard recognizes his genius after hearing him revolutionize the playing of an acoustic guitar, and begins to exploit his gift on the streets of New York much to the delight of passersby who fill his opened guitar case with donations destined for the exploitative new keeper.

August eventually comes to the attention of a Juliard professor and is enrolled as a student in the prestigious music school. He composes this mind-bending symphonic piece and as only Hollywood would have it, the destinies of mother, father and long-lost son all come together in a concert in New York’s Central Park where August conducts his masterpiece.

Over the top? Yes. Beyond getting to your heart? No. Sit the family down on the couch and share this inspirational film. It’s July now, so be in an August Rush to see this inspirational film before summer is over-)

Inspirational movie review by Rick Beneteau

Rick Beneteau
Rick Beneteau is co-founder of Modern Day Mastery.
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