Self-confessed hopeless romantics and anyone with a cinematic sweet-tooth will be sure to appreciate August Rush, an uplifting but schmaltzy fantasy. The film sees Freddie Highmore playing a wide-eyed and musically-gifted orphan, who decides to search for his parents but winds up lost in the Big Apple, with only his internal rhythmic compass and blind faith to assist him. He encounters both friend and foe, including Robin Williams as Wizard, the Fagin-esque ringleader of a pack of urchins. Wizard recognises the boy's talent (and money-making potential), and styles him as a new music sensation, August Rush.
August's folks, as it turns out, are both talented musicians, who shared one night of passion at a party but were torn apart by circumstance. Kerri Russell is endearingly sweet as Lyla, a sheltered, young classical cellist whose domineering father prevents her from dating dashing Irish rock singer Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). When she later gives birth, her father packs the baby off to an orphanage, telling his distraught daughter that her son died. Years later, Lyla, Louis and August may have lost touch but they are still connected, not only by love, but by an almost elemental power, manifested here by music.
"IT'S CHEESY ... BUT IRREPRESSIBLY SWEET "
Yes, August Rush is cheesy, almost embarrassingly so, but it's also irrepressibly sweet. Highmore can be a little nauseating at points, and Robin Williams is just plain sinister, but the film endures this and remains a joyful, life-affirming trip with an undeniable feel-good factor. If you're the kind of person who enjoys the chance to throw yourself into a movie, emotional barriers lifted, then there is much unashamedly weepy and family-friendly entertainment to be had here.
August Rush is out in the UK on 23rd November 2007.