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August Rush


Stars: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Robin Williams, Terrence Howard, William Sadler, Mykelti Williamson

Director: Kirsten Sheridan

Eleven-year-old Evan (Highmore), stuck at an orphanage, hears music in his head and believes it will lead him to his parents. As it happens, they're a rock singer/guitarist (Rhys Meyers) and a classical cellist (Russell), who had a magical one-night stand 12 years before. The baby, however, was taken away by the girl's control-freak father (Sadler, as unsmiling as ever).

Running away to New York, Evan ends up under the wing of the Fagin-like Wizard (Williams), who houses musically-talented youngsters in a disused theatre, and gets them to work the streets and give him the profits. Evan, whom the Wizard re-names August Rush, proves an amazing natural talent with whatever musical instrument he touches, and the local preacher (Williamson) gets him enrolled at the Juilliard School of Music.

The film gets ever sillier and slushier after this, and the plot development involving the Wizard is ridiculous. And how is Evan on posters as an 'endangered runaway' when he's taken away from Juilliard by the Wizard, who claims to be his father?

On the technical side, the introduction to the 'lost' children is too fast, too frenetic, and the film needs to concentrate more on Highmore as its central character, although it's nice to know that Rhys Meyers does his own singing, and Russell at least some of the cello playing. If you like chocolates with very sweet, soft centres, this could be the film for you.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Entertainment (Warner Brothers). Technicolor.
113 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 21 Nov 2007