Movie Review

August Rush a.k.a. “Der Klang des Herzens,” “La Musica nel cuore”

MPAA Rating: PG for some thematic elements, mild violence and language

Reviewed by: Jennifer Constantine
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids, Teens, Adults
Genre:
Comedy, Drama, Music
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
November 21, 2007
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Featuring: Freddie Highmore
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Keri Russell
Mission: Impossible 3,” “Waitress,” “We Were Soldiers
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Robin Williams, Terrence Howard, William Sadler, Marian Seldes, Mykelti Williamson, Leon Thomas III, Aaron Staton, Alex O'Loughlin, Jamia Simone Nash, Ronald Guttman, Bonnie McKee, Michael Drayer, Jamie O'Keeffe, Becki Newton, Tyler McGuckin, Megan Gallagher, Anais Martinez, Bilal Bishop, Michael Roderick Hammonds III, Timothy T. Mitchum, Henry Caplan, John Knox, Amy V. Dewhurst, Victor Verhaeghe, Darrie Lawrence, Sean Haberle, Jamal Joseph, Robert Aberdeen, Georgia Creighton, Joshua Jaymz Doss, Craig Johnson, Dominic Colón, Zach Page, Amma Agyapon, Adia Beckford, Dietrice A. Bolden, Dina Gardener, Luther Isler, Raymond Johnson, Joyce Walker Joseph, Willana Mack, Lamar Antwon Robinson, Talif Showers, Carlton Taylor, Yvette Bodrick, Crystal A. Elliott, Jindai Joseph, Jacquelen Singleton, Travis Veada, Jasmine Pauline Wigfall, Marc Alan Austen, Tony Galtieri, Emelie Jeffries, Steven Krietzberg, Deirdre Lorenz, Lisa Maris, Robert Myers, Greg Nutcher, Vincent James Russo, Sybelle Silverphoenix, Stream, Lev Zhurbin
Director: Kirsten Sheridan
writer of “In America
Producer: Warner Bros. Pictures, Southpaw Entertainment, CJ Entertainment, Louise Goodsill, Robert Greenhut, Gabrielle Jerou, Ralph Kamp, Miky Lee, Richard Barton Lewis, Lionel Wigram
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“An incredible journey moving at the speed of sound”

“August Rush” is a movie about belief and the power of love. Oh, yeah, and lots of music!! Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) is living in a boy’s home, calmly believing not only do his parents want him, but that he is connected to them by music, and will someday be reunited with them because of the music that flows through each of them. Even when threatened and made fun of by his peers (and I use that term loosely because Evan is clearly a cut above the other boys), he refuses to deny the truth. Early on, I sensed that music could also be a symbol for God, because Evan decides that with music guiding him, he will be restored as a son and will no longer be orphaned.

In one instance, Evan is told that in order to find what he is looking for he must love music more than food, more than life, and more than himself.

Evan gets his musical abilities from Lyla (Keri Russell), his mother, a concert cellist, and Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), his father, a guitarist and lyricist.

Anyone who plays an instrument or loves music will be in for a treat. Meyers own musical ability is displayed, and, had he not gone into acting, I believe he would have done just fine as a musician. Hans Zimmer and Marc Mancin put together a wonderful score that brilliantly blends both Lyla and Louis’ styles of music. Evan’s ability to hear music in everyday street sounds develops as he listens to pick up even the faintest strains of his parents’ music, in the same way a bloodhound follows a scent.

The things that I found objectionable were as follows: Louis and Lyla engage in premarital sex, although we only see them kissing. I understand people are human, but had they done things God’s way, Evan never would have been separated from them in the first place. Much of the pain and loneliness felt by the characters could have been avoided. There are a few scenes where Louis' friends are drinking and smoking. There is also moderate profanity. One use of hell, one use of piss, one use of a$$, five damns (where it is a child speaking), and one use of the Lord’s name in vain.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how God-friendly this movie was. Lyla wears a cross, Louis and other characters sing about praying, another character sings to his heavenly Father, two characters pray for Evan, and one character states that music is God’s reminder that there’s something else besides just focusing on ourselves.

The plot is a little improbable, at times, and if you are not a music lover it may be a stretch to overlook this, although, when God is the conductor, stranger things have been known to happen. Overall, it is a beautiful movie, but the language, while not excessive, serves no purpose. It struck a dissonant chord in an otherwise perfectly pitched movie.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments available:
Positive
Positive—This movie has spiritual depth, in spite of some of the moral failings in the early scenes. The symbolism woven throughout the whole film is incredible. I came to this site looking for someone else who might have caught what I saw, and haven’t found anyone with the same point of view. I saw the movie for the first time with my husband while on our weekly date night. I have to admit he was not as thrilled as I was to see it, at first. I think he thought I was dragging him to see another “chick flick,” but at the end of the film he admitted it was one of the best he has ever seen. We were so impressed with the movie that I decided to take our children to see it the next day. We are very conservative when it comes to what we allow them to watch and this film was one of the “cleanest” films with a PG-rating we have ever seen. From beginning to end this film exemplifies the quest for truth, faith and love. Robin Williams character does an excellent job of mirroring the deceptiveness and dangerousness of our enemy, and the pull that he has on our pre-saved lonely, weak and vulnerable souls. Lyla’s character shows the relentless love that our savior has for us never giving up or letting go. and Evan/August is helpless to do anything with his gift (that gives him true satisfaction) other than calling out to the ones who “gave him the music” to begin with. There are so many little woven intricacies that I can see how someone looking at the film at face value would miss it. The whole movie is written like a piece of music. It is a wonderful movie that I would recommend to any discerning viewer.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—A. Anderson, age 31
Positive—I loved this movie! Perhaps this movie is for “right-sided” thinkers, those of us who don’t need to write an outline before writing a theme paper. We appreciate the healthy escape of clean entertainment, enjoy finding symbolism in art and consider the possibility of the improbable. My movie companions included my four children; the oldest is an honor student working on her Masters in Journalism (hardly a non-thinker). We have raised our children to have a clear understanding of God’s word concerning pre-marital sex. Certainly we didn’t condone the “one night stand”; however, this sin carried a huge consequence. That disobeying God’s ways have consequences is exactly what I attempt to teach my children. If your children are old enough to sit through this movie, they are old enough for a frank discussion about God’s word and instruction about sex.

God is the giver of all good gifts, certainly the giver of good music. The music alone was worth the price of the ticket. I loved that when these musicians used the gifts God gave them, they were filled with joy. When we use the gifts God has given us, we too experience great joy. I believe we feel God’s pleasure in us as we do all things as unto the Lord.

Admittedly, I am easily emotionally moved, so I wept through much of this movie. I was very touched by this little boy Evan who longed to be found. He bravely yet guilelessly set out to quench the hunger of his heart. Just as Evan heard music everywhere because he had ears to hear, so we can see God everywhere if we have eyes to see. His handiwork is seen in all of creation as the heavens declare the glory of the Lord. If we sincerely ask, seek, and knock, He will reveal himself to us, and we too will be found.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Roxanne Suggs, age 46
Positive—This was a delightful film. I took my entire family as a family gathering. (My youngest is a freshman in college). It more than met my expectations. While the inference of premarital sex, on a single date, bothered my, the movie portrayed one of the problems which can occur. I thought it was handled very tastefully, but I wouldn’t take a child to see it. The entire movie was steeped in beautiful music, put together and blended so well it was a true delight. I thought the acting was very good, and the plot almost perfect. A great movie for those who love kids and music. This is a DVD I will purchase and watch again and again.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—John Fox, age 55
Positive—I saw AUGUST RUSH. It wasn’t the movie I planned, but im glad I did see it. The movie made me think in a differant way, or should I say GOD can use anything if he desires. THIS movie made me think about THE IMPORTANCE of USING OUR GIFTS he has GIVEN to us and NEVER GIVE UP. THE importance to NOT follow the whispers of the world but TO remember HE has a path for us. WE are to go after it no matter what THE world may say. THIS movie reminds us that we all want to be FOUND. It doesnt tell us that GOD OUR FATHER has already done that. IT DOES show how a boy longs for his father/mother. WE long for our HEAVENLY FATHER. there are faults like the couple sleeping together.i do agree. I though liked that they included a praying scene of the young girl. I liked the music. I liked the story. Ok, what can I say? I liked it even with the flaws.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—RockInRon, age 44
Positive—This movie was phenomenal. Truly inspiring. The songs in it are now some of my favorite. There aren’t very many movies ALL about music. This one is completely centered around it. It teaches you that you can find love through music. You can find happiness through music. As Robin Williams said in it, “Music is god’s way of telling there is more out there than just us.” I believe that. This film is perfect for all ages, and I can’t wait to see it for the third time!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Britney J, age 18
Positive—Some mainstream movie reviewers just don’t get it. One calls “August Rush,” “…a piece of shameless hokum…”; another calls it '…the sort of movie that requires you not only to suspend disbelief, but to check your sanity at the ticket counter.' That same reviewer said the movie “Babel” was a “towering dramatic achievement;” I thought it was lumbering and tedious with scenes arguably pedophilic. How often do we see reviewers totally out of touch with the opinions of the movie-going public?

Back to “August Rush.” Note first, please, that caution should be urged for young children about two areas of concern, specifically the title character is conceived out of wedlock (not, however, graphically depicted) and some children cuss, but these are both tragic situations and not glorified as advisable. They’re simply realistic.

This inspirational movie went right over many critics’ heads. I believe these are the elements they least understood: “August Rush” is a story of hope that teaches hope, determination, perseverance, and to never give up on your dream. It gracefully defines the benefits of listening. It takes us to another realm where we can witness there is more to us than our mortal bodies, brains, and intellects. Aha! It teaches things of our spirit and the Holy Spirit, His things unseen, things beyond our human ken, and it does so through a child who is full of joy when there seems to be no reason for him to have any! But, he is a prodigy with a God-given talent kindling in him and he can do things for which there is no logical reason.

My own son, Greg, was reading and doing math beyond a second grade level well before he began kindergarten. Neither his father nor I taught him these things; he just “knew” them. His pediatrician suggested tests when he seemed to her to be intelligent beyond his years. The evaluators gave their academic conclusions: Some kids just seem to get these things “out of the air” and he was one of them. Honestly, that was the expression they used!

Numerous other marvelous instances of a “miraculous” vein have occurred in my own family’s life’s experiences. I submit to you, why do the Stephen Kings, et al, who present almost exclusively the darkside have the corner on the supernatural market? It’s okay by today’s standards to have the bejeebers scared out of us by the macabre, but to be encouraged by the extraordinary powers of our Creator? Why, that’s just “shameless hokum.” Do you know that each and every one of us has glorious potential within us if we’d just listen to the Lord’s still small voice within? And that ain’t “hokum,” folks!

My heart truly goes out to those people who are of such a cynical, worldly nature that they cannot set aside their cerebral traits long enough to fathom the positive spiritual potentials of God and dance in their hearts to His gift of music.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Marylynn Stults, age 61
Positive—I thought it was good. It was a good story. I enjoyed the flow and blending of music, and it shows how God can link events and people together to accomplish what He wants. The only problem was the premarital sex, which was even when they first met, which did “bug” me. …even though it doesn’t show, it is known by her pregnancy. Other than this, the music was great, and the idea of not giving up hope was great… It had an intensity to it that I was surprised over. It was suspenseful, and had me on the edge of my seat. I suggest watching it…
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Kyle Mellnitz, age 19
Positive—I absolutely loved this movie! It was what I expected it to be. I thought the acting was done well, the plot was good—though a little unbelievable at times, but hey, its a movie! The musical score was beautiful. There were a few objections, there was implied sex, though nothing was shown and a few curse words, mostly the d** word. I found there was an underlying spiritual theme, mostly in the middle towards the end of the movie, which I was pleased to see. I laughed and cried, a feel good movie that was pretty clean, my husband even enjoyed it! If your not into music in anyway, you may find it a bit boring though. Overall, I thought it was great and would recommend it to older teens and adults.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Krys, age 26
Positive—After a friend shared with me about the movie, I went to see it, and I was really impressed how well it was orchestrated. …This movie I liked very well; the music had a real good beat to it. I was very impressed how Evan took everyday sounds and turned them into music, especially how he took the sounds and turned them to music in symbol form. I really got a kick out of how he played the guitar the first time. I was almost doing a dance in my chair at the same time, touching my heart for the gift that GOD gave him. The movie also touched my heart in how he never gave up [even when made fun of or fearful] believing his parents wanted him or his mother when she found out her father put him up for adoption—how she was determined to find him at all cost or at how Louis was determined to find Lyla after certain turn of events in his life kept hounding when one of his bothers showed up. …some parts really got to me—when Evan was being bullied at the boys’ home and when Wizard was trying to control him… The way this movie ended, I kept having to wipe the tears from my eyes. …it does grieve me though, for the lack of recognizing of GOD in this whole movie.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Ed Bevier, age 41
Positive—This is an adorable film! Freddie Highmore has always been on of those little kid actors who I love… he was (as always) amazing in this movie, as was everyone else that was in this movie. Its a great story about a boy who is trying to find his family. The only “objectionable” things about it: the language… there are maybe like 5 “d words” and 1 “G-D” what made it worse is that the little kids are the ones using the bad language! Its in about 2 minutes of the film that all these words come out, so it can easily be muted. and the only other thing I can think of that some may find objectionable is that Evans (August’s) parents met one night, then they showed them together the next morning (showing that they slept together) and then, 9 months later, her son was born. It’s a cute movie… I do recommend it. And make sure you have your tissue box at the end!! :)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Casey, age 20
Positive—An absolutely amazing movie! One of the best I have seen in years. I would recommend this movie to anyone of any age!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Richard Scott, age 26
Positive—I wish my 6 year old son had not watched it with us. I think the context and events in the childrens' lives were disconcerting from his point of view. It was fine for my 11 year old daughter. I enjoyed it well enough; but, ironically, it’s really not very deep.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Steve Jones, age 44
Positive—This was an excellent, emotional movie. There was nothing offensive in this movie. I would recommend it definitely.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jennifer Acevedo, age 28
Positive—This film was captivating. Was it perfect? No. The premarital sex was wrong. The lie that put the chlid in his situation was wrong. But this set up made for a beautiful and engaging movie. my wife and I both enjoyed it. the music in the movie was the best score I’ve ever heard in a movie. As the movie progressed the more I was drawn into it. for an evening of suspended disbelief it can’t be beat.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Michael Lieving, age 43
Neutral
Neutral—“August Rush” is not a movie for thinkers. The plot is weak, and the dialogue is stilted and feels “read” through many major parts of the film. The actors did a great job, but their performances weren’t enough.

The entire storyline of the film is offensive as the main character is conceived during a random, one night stand, among two strangers who spend the next decade miserable. It implies quite often that a large part of their misery is mourning for the “one who got away.” The very idea of this is, at best, sad. In the real world, that other person would mostly consist of what our imagination concocted and less out of who that individual really was.

This movie is rated PG, and, in my opinion, SHOULD NOT BE. I felt uncomfortable knowing there were so many children in the screening. I tend to be fairly liberal on what my daughter can see, but she will not be seeing this movie. There were some serious and gritty subjects in this film, which could have made it amazing, if only the filmmakers had been more focused on that, rather than candy coating other aspects of the film and wrapping it up with a fairy tale ending.

The cinematography is nothing short of amazing, and I rushed out to buy the soundtrack immediately, as it’s incredible. This movie would make a decent rental. I did see it with my sister, who isn’t a “movie thinker,” and she loved it, so I predict that it will have its success, despite the critics groaning, because there are people who pay $10 for a ticket just to sigh and feel good at the end.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
Misty Wagner, age 31
Neutral—One has to understand the Mystery of Music to really appreciate this movie. There were many moral shortfalls; Premarital sex where Lyla claims that to be the “Best night of my life;” a lying father deeply concerned of status above anything, a bogged downed juvenile system that doesn’t offer much hope to its children and a villain that abuses kids for personal gain. However, this movie show much less then network or cable television stations reveals. I very much enjoy the Arts that God has created for us. I like the focus of this movie being on the magic of arts that in the end rights all the wrongs that have precluded the epilogue. Filming and acting was very good. Good, fun storyline, but not deep to where you won’t have it figured out in the first 30 minutes.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Keith, age 47
Neutral—This was a good movie that could have been great. The premise was good, and the plot had potential, but the director got too caught up in showing the supposed anguish of the mother and father. This film was very artsy and on purpose took time out for the music montage, the music flashbacks, and any other time they could forcibly shove music into the script. It got tired and seemed too long. I kept waiting and waiting for the payoff, and though it finally came, by that time I just wanted it over. I liked the direction they went with in the idea that music is more than just plucking a guitar or hitting a note on a piano, but you don’t have to tell the audience 7000 times for us to get it. I would have liked a quicker pace and a bit more conflict. My favorite performance in the movie is by a little girl in the church that August seeks refuge at. She was funny, sang out of this world, and seemed to interact well with the lead. I would personally save this movie for DVD.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Jon, age 29
Neutral—A little cheesy and unrealistic, but a decent “feel good” movie. Sadly the pre-marital relationship sends a poor message, but the music was great and the storyline was cute.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jen, age 22
Neutral—I am extremely grateful for Justin Dobies negative review that gave us a heads up about this movies light, insensitive treatment of deep and serious themes. I have nothing to add to his insightful comments, but to agree with his analysis and warnings to those who have adopted children. If you watch this with your adopted children, be ready to discuss it afterwards.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—J. Savig, age 43
Neutral—This music just didn’t do it for me. I wanted to like it a lot more but it felt it woefully shallow. It is the kind of movie that COULD have been much better with a few tweaks but it misses the mark.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Gianesha, age 43
Negative
Negative—This movie is so appealing because we are emotional beings and the music speaks to our very souls. It is full of passion and hope. The main characters are incredibly good looking.

Now, the question to ask is this: is it biblically sound? Is it appropriate for teens and children? The answer is no. Stirring up lust and passions, showing that one night stands are romantic and turn out okay in the end are not biblical values. What this movie does is glamorize some very tragic situations: sex between strangers, strained relations between a father and daughter, abandonment of children and orphans living under a volatile “Peter Pan” father figure.

I do realize its just a movie, but the Lord holds us to high standards(1Pet1:16)and we ought not feed our children or ourselves mental garbage. Go bowling…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Heather, age 32
Comments from young people
Positive—I thought this movie was great!!! The music was awsome and the kids were so cute. I really liked the little girl, Hope. She has a great voice. The one thing that I didn’t like was the unmarried parents of August. That was a little disturbing to me. Other than that, the movie was wonderful. I wouldn’t take anychildren under the age of ten to see the movie just because it may be a little over their head. My 14 year old friend didn’t understand it. My two little brothers (9 and 8) were almost asleep. Wait till it comes out on video to let you little ones see it. I give it 2 thumbs up!!!…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Elena Manubens, age 16
Negative—“August Rush” is a visually and musically stunning movie that leaves the audience wanting to love it. Parts are beautiful, and it has moments of stunning spiritual themes. I left the movie truly wanting to love it for its pacing and editing alone. However, I have one extreme objection to this film that perhaps is otherwise overlooked. For anyone who has adopted children, siblings, or friends (especially young ones), I HIGHLY SUGGEST they stay away from this movie.

The film is highly improbable, and, in my opinion, extremely reckless filmmaking. There are moments of classic, child-oriented humor (kids outrunning fat cops who can’t make it through turnstiles), but those are quickly contrasted with VERY REAL and DARK moments (a hauntingly capricious adult exercising violence on an innocent child, and vice versa). As the eldest brother of two adopted, street children, I was highly disturbed by the material this film attempted to take on—and the fact that it so disgustingly attempts to give serious thematic issues cutsie, disney-esque wrap-ups. This may not affect a family that has never dealt with the issues of abandonment, or physical/emotional assault, yet it still dwells on these issues while skipping around with cheesy solutions that give the audience a false perspective on very real problems.

That being said, it is nevertheless extremely beautiful to watch; one must simply be prepared to deal with children’s potentially forthcoming quandaries.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Justin Dobies, age 17
Positive—I think this is a great movie, I watched it with my dad for a reveiw for a school newspaper I was working on. There was some sexual sences, but it was a great movie all the same!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Claire De Mocskonyi, age 15½
Positive—My Mom and I went to this movie for a mother-daughter night, and we both absolutely loved it! The only thing we were a little uneasy about was the bad choices made by the couple in the beginning, but other than that it was a great movie! The acting was great, the music was great, everything was awesome! This is one of those movies that I’ll never get tired of watching.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Katie Hervey, age 16
Neutral—This movie was very highly spoken of before I saw it. All of my friends wanted me to see it. So I did and didn’t think it was amazing. I love music and I thought this would be “my kinda movie” but it falls short on a few levels.

First of all the plot was alright, but the whole thing with him “hearing” the music was very unrealistic. Second of all I thought Robin Williams performance was exaggerated and a little over done.

The story was very sweet and the acting was good, especially the little boy who played August Rush (sorry I don’t remember his name) his acting was marvelous. The music was amazing and I enjoyed the movie. I would definitly watch it again!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Maddie, age 15