The Warner Bros. presentation film, August Rush, is drenched in sentimentality. The movie lends itself to a sensitive and youthful audience yet an older audience may also find this a delightful work of art. The modern day conversion of Oliver Twist added with a love story between new found friends attempted to show that through the power of music a young orphan will find his parents and unite his family. Can you see the sentimentality in this narrative already? The intoxicating music in this film also complements the movement of sentimentality.
This literary work has many points where there are moments that draw the heart from its resting place to the screen appealing to the intrinsic human nature. Although the story lacks originality, it has a real feel-good bit of a fairy tale element that is not tremendously deep but still entertaining. The movie also gives us a fresh look on young love. An Irish singer-guitarist Louis, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and a cellist Lyla, played by Keri Russell, meet in Greenwich Village. They spend the night entwined in this new-found love together.
By the morning glare of sunlight, reality sets in and Lyla is whisked away by her over-protective father, played by William Sadler, seemingly never to see Louis again. But nine months later a pregnant Lyla winds up in the hospital after an accident and doctors announce the baby she and Louis conceived that night has died, but he hasn’t died. Her father has the baby, played by Evan Freddie Highmore, sent to a home for wayward boys, where he yearns for his parents, believing he can and will them to find him through his music.
He's a prodigy that is able to tap into the harmonies of nature, grass rustling, wind howling, and command new instruments the moment he picks them up. When his parents they fail to materialize at the dreary institution's doorsteps, Evan sets out to look for them and with the help of a social worker, played by Terrence Howard, and the driving force of his music. In the movie August Rush, even with the lows you just know there will be a happy ending. The movie is part musical and part fantasy but the stars are charming and so innocent that you can almost believe a story like this could happen in real life.
However, a Wizard and aging busker, played by Robin Williams, diverts Evans quest by including him into a rounded up a bunch of musically inclined street urchins and he encourages them to play on the street for money then keeps much of their take at the end of the day. When Evan takes up with the band of music vagabonds and the Wizard, he renames him August Rush. The Wizard tries to keep Evan entrapped as his prized music street urchin by telling him his mission is futile and he is wanted only where he is.
He is removed from a music seminary by a claim that the Wizard is his father. A befriended street colleague assists in his escape and the return to a concert that he wrote while at the seminary brings the movie to an inevitable climax. August Rush does a great job of establishing the connection between Evan and his mother they discuss how many days they've been apart. But there doesn't appear to be the same bond between Evan and his father, even though he is seen in a moving moment playing guitar together with his father in a courtyard.
The movie seems to draw the link between Louis and Lyla much more clearly though, making their coupling seems completely unavoidable and dreamy as if it was meant-to-be. Evan finds himself a prodigy in a music seminary and through the music of the evening from each of them, they find each other. Is this a fantasy movie, a drama movie, or both? How can one tell? You can almost expect a movie like this to be realistic. The sappy nature of this film supports the philosophical argument of sentimentalism.
August Rush demonstrates that needs, wants, desires, yearnings, vulnerability, loneliness, love, mutual dependency, tenderness, sentimentalism and romanticism are an intrinsic part of human nature even among the toughest of people. This demonstration of the intrinsic reward shows positive emotion and what is valued in the autotelic work of a young boy to reach his ultimate goal. This powerful and moving story appeals to triggering our passionate nerves and emotionally chokes us up giving us chills and goose bumps as if we were on a roller-coaster ride.
I believe that sentimentality from a story, a book, a play, or a motion picture can be used to develop an intrinsic human nature we sometimes often forget to express because of the empirical human nature we most often live by today. To be momentarily removed from our extrinsic valued lives to touch an emotion is needed often to touch our humanity. The touchy-feely nonsense of this magical musical fairy tale gives the most appeal to every sense of sentimentality that everyone can enjoy.