August Rush Movie Poster Image

August Rush

Pleasant, emotional, fable-like family drama.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 113 minutes

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.


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.

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.

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...)

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

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byKunmingMom July 2, 2010

true love?

August's parents meet, start kissing after exchanging just a few sentences, come together in a one night stand, never forget each other, and eventually find each other, reunited in true love after 11 long years. There's only a little kissing shown on screen, so the images are not a problem. The more troubling issue: what constitutes true love? What forms the foundation of a durable, lasting love relationship that produces a stable marriage? Is it looking into each other's eyes on a moonlit night and sharing a mystical connection through music? I want my kids to be exposed to stories about what true love really looks like. I don't want to fill their imaginations with romantic but flimsy models of what it's like to meet 'the one'. This one's not worth seeing for a number of reasons. That particular message is most troubling to me.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008
sweet and innocent, with an excellent cast
Adult Written bymominthenow June 21, 2010
Loved it when we saw it in the theatre- bought it on dvd as part of Father's Day gift, and will watch it for the second time with our girls- ages 8 and 10 (both very mature)- this week...
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models