August Rush online movie review - August Rush captures the current state of music making...and still makes you smile...
Here's a beautiful fairy tale of a movie that conveys in the realest sense imaginable the power of music? albeit in a fanciful manner.
And yet, it also encompasses a large swath of the musical world's present reality in 2 hours of pure joy. What does it say about the state of music making? You've got Lyla, the "establishment classical" figure ? obviously loves music, loves playing ? but is hyper controlled by a father who ego-maniacally conspires to plot her present and future. They did a great job of establishing his character without dwelling on it. For Lyla, you get that sense that she really didn't choose her life ? although she has flourished in the path taken. Within Lyla, and within real-world classical prodigies everywhere ? you get a glimpse of the sheltering, the dedication, the talent and the roads foregone ? the approach to life that seems to accompany a certain kind of greatness. When does the point between a parent's desire to foster, nurture and focus a child's ability (and the parent's selfish desire) and the child's right to self determination happen. Does it happen? Lyla seems to put this question up for grabs.
Then there's Louis. The kind of rocker you probably signed up for. Raw talent, brute independence, Irish immigrant/U2 vibe ? all the vitality and intensity that accompanies twenty somethings with angst and potential. You get that sense (I'm sure intentionally) that he crawled out of Angela's ashes so he could share his story via his music. The linchpin of the band ? he's the talent and alas (for the band), the glue. Having been around musicians a good chunk of my life, we see in Louis the reason so many smart, independent kids are drawn to a life of song. They live close to the soul, they seek meaning and share their emotions in a charismatic way that makes a romantic view of the world seem permanent, desirable, possible and rewarding.
So Evan/August is our last piece of this triangle. How can you not love him? You must, if you have an ounce of belief left in your musical heart of hearts. So many metaphors are easy to reach from his character that its practically cliché to describe them. Yet, there's this subtlety in the creation of Evan ? and the presentation is good here ? the joining of Lyla and Louis is not some kind of "I saw you on stage" followed by, "No, I saw YOU on stage" follow by "oh my god aren't we these great musicians and wouldn't we be great together" kind of tripe. No, it was just chance, mood, independence, timing and a soul's longing that brought them together. Thank god this was a movie since in movies it's easy to eliminate the interim patter and make the big point without having to delve into the little moments of banal chat that comprise our early social interactions. The subtlety here is that music was truly what defined these two, and yet, the movie leaves unspoken how it defined their brief relationship. So, a love child here is destined to use music as a vehicle and a sort of spiritual GPS unit to unite the parents and give everyone a second chance at a meaningful life.
The even-handedness of the Juilliard scene is great too. So often the hip side of music tends to cast these institutions into the lump that "The Wizard" tries to cast them. It's the "you can't teach music, it's too ethereal" view. Yet, the integrity of the instructor in the wizard confrontation can't be denied, and you can't help but see how the allusions to the evolution of music and composition in general might come from such a place. Love of music is not the sole province of the starving artist street musician. The music school, for all its potential false promises ? still can enthrall and deliver. Meanwhile, August Rush delivers a fantastic movie experience that touches the core of our collective musical souls.