August Rush

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August Rush
August rush poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byKirsten Sheridan
Produced byRichard Barton Lewis
Written byNick Castle
James V. Hart
Paul Castro
StarringFreddie Highmore
Keri Russell
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Robin Williams
Terrence Howard
William Sadler
Alex O'Loughlin
Leon Thomas lll
Music byMark Mancina
CinematographyJohn Mathieson
Editing byWilliam Steinkamp
StudioSouthpaw Entertainment
CJ Entertainment
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release datesNovember 21, 2007
Running time113 min.
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$25 million
Box office$65,278,569 (worldwide)
 
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August Rush
August rush poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byKirsten Sheridan
Produced byRichard Barton Lewis
Written byNick Castle
James V. Hart
Paul Castro
StarringFreddie Highmore
Keri Russell
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Robin Williams
Terrence Howard
William Sadler
Alex O'Loughlin
Leon Thomas lll
Music byMark Mancina
CinematographyJohn Mathieson
Editing byWilliam Steinkamp
StudioSouthpaw Entertainment
CJ Entertainment
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release datesNovember 21, 2007
Running time113 min.
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$25 million
Box office$65,278,569 (worldwide)

August Rush is a 2007 drama film directed by Kirsten Sheridan and written by Nick Castle, James V. Hart, and Paul Castro, and produced by Richard Barton Lewis.

Deciding to run away to New York City, musical prodigy Evan Taylor begins to unravel the mystery of who he is. All the while Evan Taylor's mother is searching for him whilst his father is searching for her.

Plot[edit]

In 1995, Lyla Novacek (Keri Russell) is a cellist living under strict rule of her father (William Sadler). Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is the lead singer of "The Connelly Brothers", an Irish rock band. Lyla and Louis meet purely by chance and sleep together. The day after, they separate in a hurry, and are unable to maintain contact as Lyla leaves for Chicago. Louis turns to his music in the hopes she'll hear it and reconnect with him but becomes discouraged. Meanwhile, Lyla eventually realizes she is pregnant. After an argument with her father, Lyla runs into the street and is struck by a car. Due to the accident trauma, she gives birth prematurely, and her father secretly puts her son up for adoption, allowing her to believe that the baby died.

Eleven years later, Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) is living in a boys' orphanage outside New York City, where he meets Richard Jeffries (Terrence Howard), a social worker. Evan has the savant-like ability to hear music wherever he is. Convinced that his parents will find him, Evan runs away to New York City, "following the music" in the hope it will lead him to his family. He wanders the city until finding a boy named Arthur (Leon Thomas III) performing in Washington Square Park.

Louis now lives in San Francisco, having left his band and become settled. He has a chance meeting with one of his former bandmates and is invited to his birthday party. At the party, his brother Marshall (Alex O'Loughlin) is playing clips of the band performing. Louis confronts his brother and they come to blows, and Louis's girlfriend (who never knew Louis's past) leaves him.

Lyla gave up performing, now lives in Chicago with a pianist and teaches music to children privately. Her roommate encourages her to rejoin the New York Philharmonic, but she's unmotivated to do so. She is called to her father's deathbed, and he admits that her child survived the accident and is alive in New York; he doesn't know where. Lyla abandons her father to his fate and decides to return to New York.

Evan, meanwhile, follows Arthur to his home in a condemned theater and is taken in by Maxwell "Wizard" Wallace (Robin Williams), a vagrant musician who teaches homeless children music and employs them as street performers. Evan tries playing Wizard's prize guitar "Roxanne" and, while unorthodox, is so good that Wizard gives him his old spot in Washington Square Park, and Roxanne, both of which had until then been Arthur's. Wizard also gives Evan the stage name "August Rush" and tries to market him to clubs and event promoters. Seeing the posters that Jeffries has posted for the runaway Evan, Wizard destroys all the ones he finds, hoping to keep Evan and his gift for his own gain.

Louis decides to reconnect with Lyla and flies to Chicago to find her. When he asks one of the occupants of her apartment where Lyla is, the woman mixes up Lyla and her roommate, and says she's on her honeymoon in New York. Louis, crushed, ends up in New York and decides to get his old band back together.

After a chance meeting between Jeffries, Arthur and Wizard, the derelict theatre Wizard and his "children" are living in is raided by the police. After evading the police via the subway Evan (now "August") takes refuge in an inner-city church where Hope, a young girl at the church (Jamia Simone Nash), introduces him to the piano and to written music. He picks up this skill so quickly that Hope gets the attention of the parish pastor (Mykelti Williamson), who enrolls August at the Juilliard School. August's prodigious, nonconformist approach to the curriculum impresses the Juilliard staff, and a rhapsody begins to take shape from his notes and homework assignments.

Once in New York, Lyla goes to Jeffries' office for information, and Jeffries identifies Evan as her son. She decides to stay in New York to search for him. She also takes up the cello again and accepts an offer to perform with the Philharmonic at a series of concerts in Central Park.

August's gift is considered astounding among all at Juilliard, and he is selected to perform the rhapsody he's been composing at the same concert as Lyla. Wizard intrudes during a rehearsal and, claiming to be his father (under threat to August of revealing who he is), pulls August out of the school, putting him back in Washington Square.

On the day of the outdoor concert, August is forbidden by Wizard to attend. August meets Louis, who is wandering through the park, and they play together, both ignorant of their blood relationship. August tells him of his dilemma and Louis tells him that if he had a concert, he wouldn't miss it for the world. August decides to leave Wizard and go to his concert, with help from Arthur who also rebels against Wizard. August flees to the park where the concert is underway, following the sounds of Lyla's cello concerto performance. Wizard is last seen playing his harmonica in the subway tunnel.

Louis is heading towards the airport when he notices Lyla's name on a banner for the concert. He jumps out of the van and heads towards the park. Meanwhile, Jeffries notices a misplaced "endangered runaway" flyer for August Rush, identifies August as Evan, and heads for the concert as well. August arrives in time to conduct his rhapsody. Lyla, having finished her part of the concert, begins walking away from the park but is attracted back towards August's performance. Louis also arrives and spots Lyla, reuniting with her. Jeffries arrives backstage and looks on as well. August finishes his rhapsody and smiles at Lyla and Louis, realizing that they are his parents.

Cast[edit]

Music[edit]

The final number with Lyla and Louis begins with Lyla playing the Adagio-Moderato from Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor.

Except for "Dueling Guitars", all of August's guitar pieces were played by American guitarist-composer Kaki King. King's hands are used in close-ups for August Rush.

Composer Mark Mancina spent over a year and a half composing the score of August Rush. "The heart of the story is how we respond and connect through music. It's about this young boy who believes that he's going to find his parents through his music. That's what drives him."[1] The final theme of the movie was composed first. "That way I could take bits and pieces of the ending piece and relate it to the things that are happening in (August's) life. All of the themes are pieces of the puzzle, so at the end it means something because you've been subliminally hearing it throughout the film."[2] The score was recorded at the Todd-AO Scoring Stage and the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers.[3]

Reception[edit]

August Rush received mixed to negative reviews from film critics,[4][5] although it has earned mostly positive reception from the general public.[6]

In a review by USA Today, Claudia Puig commented that "August Rush will not be for everyone, but it works if you surrender to its lilting and unabashedly sentimental tale of evocative music and visual poetry."[7] The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the film positively, writing "the story is about musicians and how music connects people, so the movie's score and songs, created by composers Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer, give poetic whimsy to an implausible tale."[8]

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 37% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 110 reviews. "Consensus: Though featuring a talented cast, August Rush cannot overcome the flimsy direction and schmaltzy plot."[4] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 38 out of 100, based on 27 reviews.[5]

Pam Grady of the San Francisco Chronicle called the film "an inane musical melodrama." Grady said "the entire story is ridiculous" and "Coincidences pile on, behavior and motivations defy logic, and the characters are so thinly drawn that most of the cast is at a loss."[9] Edward Douglas of comingsoon.net said it "does not take long for the movie to reveal itself as an extremely contrived and predictable movie that tries too hard to tug on the heartstrings."[10]

Roger Ebert gave the movie three stars, calling it "a movie drenched in sentimentality, but it's supposed to be. The movie also came to a very sudden end leaving it unfinished."[11]

Jamila Gavin compared the film to Dickens' Oliver Twist and Coram Boy.[12][13]

Shawn Johnson used Bari Improv and August's Rhapsody for her floor exercise music in 2008, notably featured at the Beijing Olympics.

Awards[edit]

Despite the mixed reception, August Rush was praised for its music. The song "Raise It Up" was nominated for Best Original Song at the 80th Academy Awards, but lost to Once.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Crisafulli, Chuck and Graff, Gary. "And The Best Original Song Oscar Nominees Are...". Billboard. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  2. ^ Crisafulli, Chuck. "After a year and a half, the 'August' pieces fit". Billboard. Retrieved April 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ Dan Goldwasser. "Scoring Session Photo Gallery from August Rush". ScoringSessions.com. Archived from the original on 24 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  4. ^ a b "August Rush — Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  5. ^ a b "August Rush (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  6. ^ August Rush on Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ Puig, Claudia (2007-11-23). "Lilting 'August Rush' is poetry in emotion". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  8. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (November 8, 2007). "August Rush". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  9. ^ Pam Grady (2007-11-21). "Review: Orphan has a song in his heart in 'August Rush'". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  10. ^ "August Rush - Review Comments". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  11. ^ Roger Ebert (2007-11-21). "August Rush". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  12. ^ Smith, Sid (2007-11-21). "August Rush (Oliver Twist reset in N.Y.) — 2 stars". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-15. "Turn to the master, Charles Dickens, or better yet, update and recycle him. Such must have been the thinking behind August Rush, a thinly disguised retelling of Oliver Twist, transplanted to contemporary New York and sweetened by a theme of the healing magic of music." 
  13. ^ Covert, Colin (2007-11-20). "Movie review: Romanticism trumps reason in Rush". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-15. "If Charles Dickens were alive today, he might be writing projects like August Rush, the unabashedly sentimental tale of a plucky orphan lad who falls in with streetwise urchins as he seeks the family he ought to have. Come to think of it, Dickens did write that one, and called it Oliver Twist." 

External links[edit]