Saturday, April 19, 2008

Movie Review: August Rush

Last night we had our bi-monthly movie/pizza night, and one of the movies we rented was August Rush. This is not your typical movie, and I'm sort of split on the content, for various reasons - but the story touched me in a way no movie ever has before. This is not your typical movie review, but I'm going to review it anyway - so if you haven't yet seen it, I hope this doesn't spoil it for you.

August RushThe plot of the movie is your basic "child in a an orphanage who believes his parents will someday come for him". Not an unheard of theme for a motion picture, but there's a bit of a twist to this one. He is the child of two talented musicians and the boy himself has an unnatural ability to hear music in everything around him. Windchimes, car engines, the wind blowing through trees, etc.

Early in the movie we discover that the child was conceived as a result of a basic one night stand, then his parents were seperated (not by their choice). That was the part that bugged me, but that's because I'm a Christian and glossing over things like, as if they're normal and acceptable - well that bothers me.

Anyway - mom is a Juliard trained cellist while dad is a talented guitarist/singer in your basic "really good" garage band that just hasn't been discovered yet. The boy is born, placed in the orphanage and 11 years later feels its time to set out to find his parents, and has some NYC adventures on the way. Monumentally tame adventures compared to what would really happen to a kid alone in NYC, but that's okay. I'll leave it there and let you watch it yourself (if you haven't already) to see how it all works out.

The way this movie was written, it was as if someone with amazing recall tapped into the memory of childhood. Not just any childhood either, but the childhood of those kids who really can hear music in everyday things (yes, we do exist). We were the kids who hummed along with the vaccuum cleaner, or hummed into a table fan, to try and match pitch and notes. We were the kids who heard a train and immediately copied the beat of the metal on metal sounds the train wheels made going down the tracks. We were the kids who made up songs on the spot, and tried to learn various different musical instruments. We were the weird kids that can still remember hearing the sound of our own heartbeat and finding it soothing, somehow. Some kids (very few, actually) like this are naturally gifted by God to be able to duplicate and create music as well, where others (like me) can't actually play anything but still hear the music. As adults, we hear certain notes in particular songs that reach so deep down it's almost disturbing, and we hear certain instruments (for me it's the acoustic guitar) that somehow connect on a level unexplainable by simple words.

Without question, there is something just incredibly powerful about music that touches certain people in a deeper way than it touches other people. When God was not central in my life. music was. Radio on first thing in the morning, while making breakfast, and it sung me to sleep at night. It was common to find me on the floor with headphones on, listening to one of my albums for hours, over and over as a teenager. I knew every word, every beat, every high note and low note, to every song on every album I owned. To this day, when a song comes on the radio from that era, I am instantly transported back to those days of (relative) innocence, and even if it's been 20 years since I've heard the song, it's as if I sung along with it just yesterday.

Okay enough about my musical memory lane. Somewhow, the character of the boy in this movie was written in a way that tapped on my shoulder and said "do you remember this?" I loved it. Not only did I relate to the little boy, I somewhat related to the dad's garage band days, since for a time that was a part of my life too (although I must confess, that part did make me a tad but uncomfortable since that was a part of my unsaved life - so I'm glad they didn't really dwell on that aspect too much). Overall, it was written in a somewhat fairytale way - in that the whole thing was just too good to be true, but that's allright. Sometimes you need a movie like that for no other reason than to smile at the end, and be really glad you rented it.

I did, and I was. I'm going to recommend it for fellow-"I hear music"-adults, who also remember what that feels like (or maybe have forgotten...)

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