By Amy Sondova While August Rush is definitely a cool name for a musician, it’s a terrible movie. Maybe I’m just not into feel-good films that have a limited grasp on reality unless they’re in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. I’m not sure how to classify August Rush except to reemphasize the fact it wasted two hours of my life.
The plot revolves around Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore), an abandoned 11-year-old boy who has lived in an orphanage in New York his entire life. He hears music in the world around him and believes that his parents are going to come fetch him up one day. Everyone he meets thinks his idealism is crazy, but are impressed with his natural musical ability. In fact, he’s some sort of musical prodigy composing his first piece of music only minutes after learning how to read notes.
Understandably, there are kids who will take to music like a fish to water. However, I doubt a kid who just plucks on a guitar for a couple of hours is going to sound like Carlos Santana shortly thereafter. The story gets more and more ridiculous as it goes along. Evan changes his name to August Rush under the direction of Wizard (Robin Williams), a bitter hoodlum who takes in runaway children and exploits their musical talents to make a buck.
Throughout the movie, August says that he must play his music so his parents can find him. Ironically, his parents are both musicians—Lyla, (Keri Russell), the classically-trained cellist and Louis, (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), the Scottish rocker. One starry night, Lyla and Louis meet, procreate, and are parted. After getting hit by a car, Lyla delivers early and without her knowledge, her father forges her signature, signing away her parental rights. Her father confesses his sin on his deathbed causing Lyla to search for her son 11 years later. Meanwhile, Louis, (who doesn’t know he has a son), can’t forget about Lyla and decides to make contact with her after 11 years. In a bizarre twist of events, music brings them all together and a family that was torn asunder is reunited.
I know I should just suspend my disbelief, but I can’t. I can’t get past the fact that Lyla would have needed a witness to watch her sign her baby away and that there haven’t been orphanages in the United States for over 30 years. A baby put up for adoption has a great chance of being adopted, not institutionalized. Not only that, but Lyla would never be able to extract the information about Evan’s whereabouts from his children and youth caseworker. If the plot is this shaky from the beginning, how are we supposed to believe that Louis loves Lyla after a one-night stand? How can we accept that August is really that talented?
If you want to see more of Keri Russell, rent Season 2 of Felicity. Watching her navigate through the perils of college life is much better than trying to understand this messy plot.