Review: “August Rush”

So we watched August Rush tonight at our friends’ house around the corner. I wouldn’t normally do two reviews back to back, but I wanted to get this one done while the memory of this claptrap was still fresh.

August Rush is the story of a boy named Evan who’s in an orphanage but dreams of finding his parents. All I can say, after having seen this movie, is: <KRONK VOICE> “Riiiiiiiiight.”

WARNING: Spoilers follow. If you plan to see August Rush (please God, don’t do it), you may want to stop reading.

I can’t even begin to describe this celluloid travesty, so I’ll just summarize it with “Things August Rush Taught Us” (with apologies to

  • If you give up your baby for adoption at the hospital, nobody bothers to counsel you, talk to you about it afterwards, or even make sure that the person signing the paperwork is really you and not, oh, say, your father, signing it while you’re unconscious.
  • A mother who has carried her baby almost to term, and then gets hit by a car, and then wakes up in the hospital, and then gets told by her baby-hostile father that the baby is “gone”, will not:
    A) Ask hospital staff any questions about her dead baby, so they can say “oh he’s not dead, you gave him up for adoption.”
    B) Ask to see the body, so they can say “oh he’s not dead, you gave him up for adoption.”
    C) Get involved in or expect there to be any funeral arrangements
    Despite this utter lack of interest, she will then pine for her baby for the next eleven years, convinced he’s really alive.
  • The odds that a healthy baby that’s given up for adoption will actually get adopted are apparently nil.
  • Kids can just wander away from orphanages any time they feel like it.
  • There’s evidently only one “Child Services” office in the entire city of New York, and it has serious trouble keeping track of the kids in the system, despite its whiz-bang computer system (see below).
  • Dozens of kids can live in an abandoned New York City theater that still has power and heat and no one will notice.
  • NYC “Child Services” caseworkers go around stapling pictures of missing kids to telephone poles instead of notifying the police about them.
  • Every single street musician in NYC works for Robin Williams.
  • Police officers are easily distracted by kids waving their arms and yelling “Hey cops!”.
  • The NYC “Child Services” computers are so powerful they can instantly find a kid just by typing in his birthday, yet the workers don’t have cell phones.
  • Musical prodigies can figure out how to play a pipe organ in like ten minutes. A pipe organ. Including the knobs, the foot pedals, and all those other crazy whangdoodles.
  • Julliard doesn’t care if an eleven-year-old boy has no money, legal guardian, social security number, or place to live; they’ll still take him on as a student. They certainly won’t bother trying to find out where he came from and they won’t contact “Child Services” about him. Julliard also lets random crazy people freely enter their campus and barge into rehearsals, and will just let said crazy people remove said eleven-year-old student from said rehearsal.
  • The New York Philharmonic will just call somebody up after ten years, even though that person hasn’t performed anywhere in all that time, and ask them to come and solo on the cello.
  • New York City randomly locks the gates on subway stations, thus forcing people who may be in them to go through the tunnels to some other station that still allows access to the surface.
  • Nobody at “Child Services” monitors the fax machine, but rather, they just let it spit notices about missing and exploited children onto the floor or into the trash or whatever.
  • New Yorkers will conveniently part for people who try to shove their way through a crowd down to the stage during a concert in Central Park.

Seriously, this movie was just about the most ridiculous piece of nonsense we’ve ever seen. My wife stayed awake for the whole thing, but that’s because it was so mind-bogglingly awful we were having a grand old time making fun of it. On the other hand, one of our friends fell asleep almost immediately, so I think we’ll use that rating instead.

21 thoughts on “Review: “August Rush”

  1. It was the inflight movie on United recently (only loser movies are shown on airlines)and even without the sound (I was listening to the flightdeck) it looked stupid.


  2. people like you are the reason why there are so many “reality shows”. Ever hear the term “IT IS A MOVIE”, but your right we should expect everything we see to be totally REAL! I just saw it and thought it was a really nice, sweet movie. There is actually nothing wrong with something heart-worming.

    Jim says: Wow, I’ve never been accused of requiring absolute reality from my entertainment before. I actually can’t stand reality shows, and if you think I demand that everything in a film to be totally real then you obviously haven’t looked at any other post on this site, or at the material that I’ve had published, or at my list of favorite books and movies, or at anything on Dennis’s Diary of Destruction. Suffice to say that if you can’t get me to suspend disbelief for your film, then you’ve done something seriously wrong.

    If you’re going to make a movie that tries for “magic realism” you generally need both magic and realism. August Rush has neither.

    For a good heart-warming (and heart-breaking) movie starring Freddie Highmore, try Finding Neverland instead.


  3. This was a modern day musical fantasy with heart and was not meant to be a reality show with bullet points. I don’t go to movies with a legal book to make sure all laws and rules are followed. Too bad other people read your review and missed seeing and hearing the great music. Peggy

    Jim says: Hmm, I remember seeing and hearing some mediocre music. It’s available on the soundtrack if someone really wants to hear it, without subjecting themselves to the worse-than-mediocre film it’s embedded in. Suggestion: If someone wants a musical with heart and great music that’s NOT wrapped up in a crappy movie, rent Once.

    Actually that’s not quite fair. One or two of the Jonathan Rhys Meyers songs were halfway decent. But any song from Once is still better.


  4. Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywoood Reporter had it right:
    “Magical realism meets a modern-day Oliver
    Twist in “August Rush,” an often charming urban fantasy that teeters perilously on the brink of preciousness but never quite topples over.

    The story is about musicians and how music connects people, so the movie’s score and songs, created by composers Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer, give poetic whimsy to an implausible tale.”

    This is to give a more objective view point to counter yours. Peggy

    Jim says: Reviews of films, music, TV shows, etc., are never objective. If they were, computers could do them. Hmm, let me just write a little program to review movies and feed August Rush through it …


    I guess computers can do reviews after all!


  5. So I thought I would take Peggy’s second comment to heart and write a brief, objective review of August Rush. Here goes.

    August Rush was contained on a DVD that had some printing on it. The camera was working when they made this film, because there were moving pictures on the screen. There were sounds so the microphones must have been working too. The film had people in it who gave performances. August Rush was directed by someone, and it appears to have been edited as it does not consist of a single long scene. When it was over, a long list of credits went by, so we can assume that a large number of people were employed in various capacities by the filmmakers. It was released by a studio and shown in some theaters, but not for very long.


  6. i thought that movie was an excellent movie i think its my favorite well it is u guys that watched it probably dont get the meaning
    deanna i wish that was true movie with same people and became best frinds with everyon in it


  7. Wow Dennis I didn’t know S&%t could smell so bad.

    Jim says: Neither did I, until I watched August Rush.

    While your consensus concerning objectivity is slightly more accurate than your crass take on August Rush, subjectivity needs a cushioned place in your bruised ego.

    Jim says: Oh, wait, you’re defending it. Sorry, my bad.

    Filmic art seems to have taken a back seat to your spreadsheets and calculators and left your heart and soul out of the review.

    Jim says: They asked to be excused because they were in the bathroom throwing up.

    Film is meant to take you on a journey through yourself and the characters, not just the characters and your checklist. The interconnection one feels to the film needs saturation not a roadblock.

    If you are so cold to deject feeling and connection with film you have no business watching film in the first place, or reading books for that matter.

    Rather you should take a place on the sidelines and let people who truly appreciate film to be heard and thereby placing a mussel on your decrepit sensibilities.

    Jim says: It really baffles me that this is the movie that gets the most impassioned defense from people. Anyway, I agree with all your comments on what films are supposed to do; sadly, this film doesn’t do any of it.


    1. You don’t understand art at all, if you can’t find the art in this movie. This movie is not about the people at all. It’s about the music. The story is about how people respond and connect through music. Now you can go ahead and criticize the music. . .


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