1 hour, 53 minutes
PG Parental Guidance Suggested.
for some thematic elements, mild violence and language.
Freddie Highmore ... August Rush
Keri Russell ... Lyla Novacek
Jonathan Rhys Meyers ... Louis Connelly
Robin Williams ... Wizard
Leon G. Thomas III ... Arthur
Terrence Howard ... Richard Jeffries
At a bucolic home for orphaned boys, Evan (Freddie Highmore "Finding Neverland"), is interviewed by a kind social worker (Terrence Howard "Crash") who plans to place the boy with a family, but before that can happen, the boy runs off to New York City. In the park Evan meets Arthur (newcomer Leon G. Thomas III), a talented young guitarist who takes him to meet a Fagin-like character named the "Wizard" (Robin Williams "Dead Poet's Society") who manages a gang of young thieves, who are also musicians. By day they play for money in the city's parks and street corners and they all live together in an abandoned theater. When the Wizard realizes Evan's musical abilities, he renames him August Rush, and gives him a prime spot playing his guitar in Washington Square Park.
The film then cuts back eleven years to New York City where Evan was conceived. One night on a rooftop overlooking Washington Square Park, a young Irish rock guitarist-singer, Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers "Match Point"), meets a shy, young classical cellist, Lyla (Keri Russell "Waitress") and the two of them spend the night only to be torn apart by circumstances.
Weeks later the pregnant Lyla is hit by a car and gives birth prematurely. Her father (William Sadler "The Shawshank Redemption"), aware of her burgeoning musical career, gives the infant up for adoption and tells his daughter that her baby died.
Shattered, Lyla loses interest in playing the cello and moves to Chicago, where she gives music lessons. Louis gives up his musical career as well, and moves to San Francisco. Meanwhile the newly named August Rush never gives up hope of finding his birth parents. He is convinced that they want to find him and that somehow music will bring them together. His musical gifts explode when one day he wanders into a church, and the pastor (Mykelti Williamson "Lucky Number Slevin") hears him playing the church organ. He is so impressed with the boy's musical creativity that he takes him to the Juilliard School of Music. In no time, he has composed a symphony and it's going to be played in Central Park, where Lyla is a featured cellist and Louis is nearby, having left a reunion with his old band.
There's no doubt that the film directed by Kirsten Sheridan (daughter of Jim Sheridan, director of "My Left Foot") doesn't work on any realistic level, but it is so driven by its music from gospel and rock to classical and symphonic that it carries the sentimental story. "August Rush" is so full of hope and magnificent music that it will surely captivate all but the most cynical audiences.