August Rush

  • Review Date: March 10, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007

Common Sense Media says

Pleasant, emotional, fable-like family drama.
  • Review Date: March 10, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

For the most part, everyone behaves out of the goodness of their heart, though Lyla's father seems cold-hearted, and Wizard is a little creepy and cruel.

Violence

Two brothers argue and lunge at each other; a man yells at children, flashes a knife, and commands them to keep working for him -- later, he chases down Evan; cops raid a dilapidated theatre to find runaway kids; bullies at a boy's home taunt a much younger boy; a father and daughter scream at each other.

Sex

A couple kisses, in close up, and spends the night together (they're shown fully clothed the next morning, cuddling); another couple kisses on a stairwell.

Language

The occasional "damn" and "pissed" and one "screw you."

Consumerism

Shots of signs for the concert venue (Irving Plaza); mentions of Juilliard, the New York Symphony Orchestra, and the Sherry-Netherland.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking in bars and social situations.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this emotional is fairly good family entertainment, with sexual content at a minimum and lots of warmth and great musicianship. That said, there is a bit of violence (a man flashes a knife at children), some social drinking, and a few iffy words ("damn," "pissed," etc.). And since the first half of the movie relies on lots of flashbacks -- which could be confusing for younger kids -- it's probably a better pick for tweens and teens.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Ah, young love. It's the heady cocktail that entwines two young musicians -- Irish singer-guitarist Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and reserved, brilliant cellist Lyla (Keri Russell) -- in this imperfect-but-winning film. After meeting cute in Greenwich Village, they spend the night together. But morning brings the harsh glare of sunlight -- and reality: Lyla is whisked away by her protective father (William Sadler), never to see Louis again. Nine months later, when a pregnant Lyla winds up in the hospital after an accident, she's told that the baby she and Louis conceived that night has died. Only he hasn't. Instead, Evan (Freddie Highmore) is sent to a home for wayward boys, where he pines for his parents, believing he can will them to find him through his music. (He's a prodigy, able to tap into the harmonies of nature -- grass rustling, wind howling -- and command new instruments the moment he picks them up.) So when they fail to materialize at the dreary institution's doorsteps, he sets out to look for them. And with the help of a social worker (Terrence Howard), and the propulsive force of his music, he just might.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

AUGUST RUSH proudly wears its heart on its sleeve. Despite the lows -- and there are lows -- you just know there will be a happy ending. Allegorical and not altogether literal, the movie is part musical and part fantasy, a combo that doesn't always quite mesh. But the stars -- particularly Highmore and Russell -- are charming, and so innocent that you can almost believe a story like this could happen in real life. However Robin Williams strikes the wrong chord as Wizard, an aging busker, who, Fagin-like, rounds up a bunch of musically inclined street urchins, encourages them to play, then keeps much of their take at the end of the day. (Evan takes up with them, and it's Wizard who renames him August Rush.) With his hat and swagger, Williams seems to be channeling Bono by way of Saturday Night Live. The effect is humorous, but not for the right reasons; you keep expecting him to go off on one of his riffs to signal that he's joking.

August Rush does a great job of establishing the connection between Evan and his mother; in two separate scenes, they discuss how many days they've been apart, using nearly the same syntax. But there doesn't appear to be the same bond between Evan and his father (though seeing them play guitar together is somewhat moving). Director Kirsten Sheridan draws the link between Louis and Lyla much more clearly, making their coupling seem completely inevitable and, consequently, dreamy and meant-to-be. (Just like the movie's happy ending...)

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what kind of movie this is -- is it a drama? A fantasy? Both? How can you tell? Do you expect a movie like this to be realistic? Families can also discuss how the movie portrays music. Does it really have the power to connect people? To heal their wounds? Why? Can you think of other movies that depict music's enormous, and sometimes magical, reach? And, last but not least, what can viewers learn from how Evan keeps believing in a kinder, gentler world, despite his background and everything that happens to him? What's the big lesson here?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 21, 2007
DVD release date:March 10, 2008
Cast:Freddie Highmore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell
Director:Kirsten Sheridan
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Topics:Music and sing-along
Run time:113 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some thematic elements, mild violence and language.

This review of August Rush was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bymoviestar511 February 16, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Great movie, family movie

I loved the movie. It was great and had a great ending to it. I advise anyone to see it.

What other families should know
Great role models
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byaidanqm1996 September 4, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

This is my favorite movie!

Amazing movie! Gives me chills every time I watch it! Music can really move you.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written bygeckogirl May 13, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

It was ok

It was an ok movie... actually, it was pretty good... but a little uncomfortable if you wanted to watch it with little kids...

What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families