The Hear and Now
August Rush
Review by Ross Anthony

At its most precious moments, August Rush resonates with the mighty currents of music that wrap our planet like awesome clouds or invisible electromagnetic energy that contributes to the mysterious and lovely appearance of the Aurora Borealis. Those moments are sweet heartfelt sonic gems. But the tale into which they are sewn has more than its fair share of dissonance.

Topping the list of imperfections is the tone of the story itself. Essentially, this is a fairy tale, but it's told as if it were real. I greatly enjoy surreal presentations, but "August Rush" isn't quite presented that way either. Had we been oriented into the drama by means of a children's book opening, we would far better appreciate its fairy tale charms. But, since the tone remains one of a supposedly factual happening, audiences may become disenchanted by those otherwise enchanting fairy tale progressions.

Further, the dialogue goes stale in patches. And worse, the direction exaggerates certain scenes in a heavy-handing manner to accent mood. For example, little August finds himself disoriented by the hustle, bustle and meanness of the big city. The editor and director overstate this mood with a quick montage of horns, traffic, spinning camera shots, they even have August get bumped by a car in traffic. Lastly, though the climax is sweet, it feels rather truncated for the wait.

On the other hand, Freddie Highmore endears as the young musician. The score is strong and captivating. And the story still manages to do what I, as a musician myself, find difficult to do – it conveys in words and pictures that wonderful feeling of being caught in a much grander current of rhythm and melody. (Oh, I had given it an effort though, click here to read my dreamy little essay on the topic.)

I would have made these changes. First, tell the story from the perspective of August's Orphanage buddy. That part would be real. He sees August's love for music in nature coupled with August's unrelenting belief that his parents and he can communicate through an invisible wave of music. This makes the buddy sad because he and everyone else at the orphanage struggle to kill any pangs of longing to return to their birth parents because those pangs only lead to despair. The buddy has no musical talent, but likes to write. So he writes the story of "August Rush" for his friend August. It's a fairy tale to make them both feel better about being orphaned. This angle would lend an even greater depth to a film that already has so much promise and such precious moments.

Gradewise: This is clearly a B movie – even a B-. But at its core it taps into something so profound, I feel compelled to give it a B+.

Some interesting Notes: Among the music consultants on the film, David Crosby suggested August approach the guitar with the style of guitarist Michael Hedges – rhythmic and percussive. That, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers sang his own parts.

-- Book Contest --


  • August Rush. Copyright © 2007.
  • Starring Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, Robin Williams, William Sadler, Leon Thomas III, Jamia Simone Nash.
  • Directed by Kirsten Sheridan.
  • Screenplay by Nick Castle, James V. Hart. Story by: Nick Castle, Paul Castro.
  • Produced by Richard Barton Lewis at Warner Bros/Southpaw/CJ Ent.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Monday, 10-Dec-2007 10:12:33 PST