Before I begin, I want to give a warning to parents who intend on taking there children to see August Rush, especially if that child is a daughter. Make sure you explain to them that if you meet a young man, whose perhaps handsome, on a rooftop some starry night and one of the first things he tells you is he talks to the moon, to run the other way. The guy is probably crazy. And certainly don’t have what could be a one night stand on said rooftop for the sake of romanticism. Some moments are probably not worth getting caught up in, and there in lies the flaw of this goofy, senseless movie. It’s goofy…and senseless. If your kid is a boy, tell him to give it a try, tell him to say that he talks to toilet bowls, it would make just as much sense, and might actually work. As far as this movie is concerned.
A boy is spawned from this meeting, but it’s too late, the girl, Kerri Russel, a talented cellist who has been directed to play with big eyes to the sky gooiness has already been drug off by by her overbearing father, William Sadler, leaving the boy who speaks to the moon, Jonathon Rhyes Meyers, the lead singer of a rock and roll band, in utter dismay. He’s in so much dismay from the loss of his true love that he can’t play music anymore. Oh, the heartache, how many more girls are out there that will buy the moon line! Several months pregnant, Russell has a fight with daddy and runs out into the street where she’s struck by a car! Oh, my. I laughed through most of the movie, and am close to laughing now. Daddy, tells her the baby died, and she no longer wishes to play music. But the boy, Freddie Highmore, didn’t die. Daddy has shipped him off to an orphanage. But the boy’s and girl’s love for music somehow got mixed up with their copulation and has created a child prodigy or a nutty kid who hears music everywhere, and wants to follow it thinking that it will bring him back to his parents.
The reason why I’m not calling them by their names, is because it’s really not important. The characters are so poorly created, and the dialogue so poorly written that these talented actors do their acting between lines. The only one who doesn’t seem to get it is Robin Williams, as Wizard. Oh, poor Robin Williams, there was a time, sir, in which I enjoyed your presence on screen, but now like Travolta, you try far too hard and in the process come off as having no idea what you’re doing. Wizard who keeps talented musician runaways holed up with him in a scheme to collect money, takes Highmore under his arm. This happens after the young boy picks up a guitar for the first time, and hitting the strings with the side of his hand is able to produce music that everyone thinks is amazing.
The screenwriter and director both seem to have wanted to make this a family film and in doing so they chose to convey the story to the lowest common denominators. In one sequence that starts off interesting before becoming so heavy handed it walks into ludicrous territory, we’re treated to Higmore’s first moments in the Big Apple. Everything around him becomes a musical score and he begins lucidly waving his arms around to the music. The city is good to him and we see just how good when the camera cuts to a shot of a walk sign signaling that it’s okay to walk. But the number of the child placement counselor, Terrance Howard, another actor acting between the lines, who Highmore has come to find, slips from his fingers and of course down a sewage grate. The city turns on him; the music becomes dissonant, and in what I’m sure they wanted to be a profound moment, they cut back to the walk sign and the red don’t walk is flashing.
This film is filled with too many unintentional laughs to count. Too many things that just don’t make sense and that happen so randomly and with such emotion I could write a 50 page essay. And for this film, it’s not worth it. But I’ll give you one to chew on. Or two. On the rooftop the dialogue flows like this…
Boy: So who are you?
Girl: Just…me…What are you looking at?
Boy: Just you.
And they kiss.
Then there’s the scene in which Wizard helps Highmore come up with his name. A truck passes with an advertisement for a beach.
Wizard: What word stands out to you on that billboard.
Wizard: Well beach would be okay if you had a group of people harmonizing.
Then he points out the two words that are placed so closely together and in giant bold faced type…August Rush. It’s so heavily on the nose and obvious and just stupid it makes you laugh.
Oh, okay, and a third one. Building to the climax, Highmore has to make a daring escape and as he runs away another young boy shouts after him…wait for it…wait for it…
Boy: Run August. Run!
It would only take someone who has no idea what they’re doing to allow this line that sounds so similar to “Run Forrest. Run!” to be shouted after the main character, who just happens to be a boy with some mental instability. I laughed really hard.
In the end this film is like those email forwards you get from your Aunt, you know, the ones telling you to send around to see how many friends you have, or tell you angels are watching over you, its annoying, but forgivable, because it has the best intentions in mind. You just wish that it would grow up a little bit and treat you and the kids around you like they know a little better.