A Movie Worth Remembering…

In the world of film there are very few movies that can make an impact on your life.  However, there are some that are so beautiful or powerful or bold that they manage to sear themselves inside your brain and stay with you for an entire lifetime.  It is for this reason that “August Rush” is one of the best movies ever created.  Not only can you learn from this film, but it also makes you feel good inside and then takes it a step further by inspiring you to capture that feeling and share it with anyone who cares to listen.
One of the best ways to learn about writing is through experience.  Not just writing experience, but through life experience as well.  This doesn’t limit itself to merely the things you, yourself have lived.  We can learn from reading books, listening to tales and even watching movies.  “August Rush” is a prime example of this.  Its carefully plotted story and masterfully-crafted characters are so simple, yet complex at the same time.  Each character plays a crucial part in the story.  For example, if it weren’t for Evan’s (Freddie Highmore/August Rush) social worker, Mr. Richard Jeffries (Terrance Howard), Evan’s mother, Lyla (Keri Russel) would never have been able to find her son.  Likewise, if it weren’t for Lyla’s insistency at the family services building, Richard may never have found Evan either.  The characters all work together to form the perfect plot, without you even realizing it until the very end of the film.  This movie can help teach you, the writer, how to connect your characters with the plot seamlessly, in turn, enabling them to incorporate strong emotional bonds between the story’s characters and the reader.
There are several key elements that make a film magical: the right music, the right cast and a writer who gives a damn about what he’s doing.  When all of these things unite, the movie makes itself.  “August Rush” is one of the few films in existence that has made me goose-pimple so uncontrollably and so often that at times I feared I might have gotten nerve damage.  From the very beginning of the story you care about Evan.  He’s a sweet, awkward child who’s misunderstood, picked on and, despite his uncanny ability with music, only wishes to be reunited with the parents that he knows still want him, even though he’s never met them and has grown up in foster care his entire life.  You can’t help but cheer him on as he goes, become angry when Maxwell “Wizard” Wallace (Robin Williams) takes advantage of him and become so consumed with frustration at every missed opportunity or mistake that is made.  Not to mention, the first time Evan actually gets the chance to sit down and experiment with a guitar (named Rocks).  The music may not have been the greatest melody ever created, but that wasn’t the point.  It was all about circumstance and how it happened and what we all knew and hoped would come next: for Evan to play his music and be heard by his parents.
Probably the best part about “August Rush” is what happens to you after the movie is over.  It’s like you’ve been refreshed and uplifted, and suddenly you find yourself with all kinds of bottled up emotion and inspiration that you didn’t even know you had.  You want to do something wonderful, even if you’re not sure what it is that you want to do.  It’s like this unseen force has grabbed you by the heart and is urging you to create something or do something or become something better.  You can’t quite explain it, but you know that what you’re feeling is right and honest and a part of you that you may have forgotten ever existed.  I like to call it humanity: that little piece inside every last human on this earth, which is often referred to as a soul.  Regardless of what you call it, it’s the same thing that both connects us and makes us unique, and it reminds us that we are not the centre of the universe, that we are caring and compassionate, and that deep down we all want to make someone else’s day just a little bit better.
We are a curious race.  We’re constantly changing, asking questions and attempting to create the impossible.  We strive to better ourselves and others, but the strange thing is that it often only takes one small action or gesture, or even film, to set in motion a chain reaction of innovation, inspiration and kindness.  The belief that something so seemingly mundane as a movie could start such a thing may seem preposterous, but I believe that “August Rush” is one of these rare apparitions.  It will stand the test of time, sitting side-by-side with every classic ever made and yet to come, and its wealth of knowledge, charm and encouragement will prove just as relevant tomorrow as it is today.

Published October 1, 2012

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