August Rush

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
August Rush Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Pleasant, emotional, fable-like family drama.
  • PG
  • 2007
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 25 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 37 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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.


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.


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.


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


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 and 14-year-old Written byleah.k December 6, 2009

Not just a chick flick...

I think it would be better for 13 & up mainly because younger kids wouldn't catch on to all the flash backs, and duel life scenes. There's a f... Continue reading
Parent of a 14-year-old Written byobsrvr January 13, 2012

This movie is now #3 on my list of favorite artistic movies

While I agree with the parent who wrote that it should not be treated as a shining example of "true love", you can discuss that fact with your childr... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMoviegirl700 December 7, 2018

Decent film with teen pregnancy and family ties.

This movie was pretty good. There was iffy material that is not suitable for young children and kids who do not know that teens can get pregnant. Other then tha... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bynotmango February 6, 2016


This movie is too good to be true and I personally could not take it very seriously. I don't think that it sends out a good message about love and life in... Continue reading

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?

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...)

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate