Movies We Like
Family films are precious commodities. Slapstick plus smart humor have been winning combinations for many years now while the sentimental tearjerkers have taken a back seat. Lately, however there have been a few jewels emerging that are not only appropriate for young audiences but will entrance their parents as well. August Rush is a lovely music filled Orphan Annie/Oliver tale with sincere performances, intelligent, economical writing, a wonderful score and charming cinematography.
Two young and talented strangers meet and fall in love under a full moon in New York but are separated by fate and an overly controlling father the very next day. We learn that the young lady, an accomplished cellist named Lyla Novecek has become pregnant and that her star crossed lover, Louis Connelly, waits every night under the Washington Arch. After Lyla has an accident around her due date her father takes the opportunity to take the healthy newborn boy and put him up for adoption while telling Lyla that he didn't survive. Twelve years later we see the young and vibrant rock musician, Louis, has become a suit wearing businessman still stifling under a broken heart and broken dreams while Lyla is quietly teaching music without playing it herself.
Meanwhile there is the child of their love, Evan, who is living in a boys home refusing to be adopted, convinced that his parents will come for him. He hears them as he hears music, in everything. Finally drawn by the sound of his heart he runs to New York and becomes entangled with a Fagin of young homeless musicians played devilishly well by Robin Williams. There Evan becomes August Rush and his prodigious musical talent erupts with a truly joyous sound. But all August wants is to play loud enough so that his parents will hear and find him.
Sweet, innocent with a touch of magic August Rush has beautiful sentiment without being overly sentimental. Performances by Leon G. Thomas III and Jamia Simone Nash plus the score manage to bring forth a child's despair and resilience and the joy of creativity and hope. Be prepared. If you are a sap like me bring the Kleenex.
August Rush was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song.