Australian Council on Children and the Media

August Rush

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 due to adult themes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for August Rush
  • a review of August Rush completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 February 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Lacks interest for this age group and not recommended due to adult themes
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended due to adult themes.
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: August Rush
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild theme and infrequent violence
Length 114 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) is an eleven-year-old orphan, growing up in the Walden Home for Boys. His parents, Lyla Novacek (Keri Russell), a famous classical cellist and Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a rock guitarist, met in New York and had a one night fling. Neither of them knows that Evan is alive due to the fact that Lyla’s controlling father signed release papers for the baby’s adoption immediately after his birth. He also told Lyla that the baby didn’t survive childbirth after Lyla was hit by a car. He confesses the truth to her on his deathbed and Lyla sets out to locate her son.

Meanwhile Evan has always believed his parents are alive and thinks that he can ‘feel’ them through music. Evan, naturally musically talented, is totally absorbed by music and the sounds around him, making the other boys at the orphanage tease him for being ‘a freak’. Evan eventually runs away from the orphanage to find his parents and unfortunately runs into a very unpleasant character named Wizard (Robin Williams). Wizard controls a gang of boys who busk in the streets and collect money for him. He quickly sees the talent in Evan and the money the boy might bring him. Wizard suggests the name of August Rush as they see a bus drive by with it on and Evan assumes this name.

Evan’s luck improves when the police raid the dilapidated theatre the boys are living in, and Evan escapes. This time he hides in a church where the benevolent priest takes him in. Recognising his talent, the priest enrols him into an elite music school where he rapidly develops.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Separation from a parent; being an orphan.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • At the Walden Home for boys, a man kicks a boy.
  • Older boys at the home bully and threaten Evan – waking him up in the middle of the night.
  • Louis has a couple of physical and verbal fights with a member of his band.
  • Lyla argues with her father.
  • A boy gets hit by a car but is not hurt.
  • Wizard throws a knife into a table.
  • Wizard picks Evan up by the collar and slams him into a wall.
  • A boy from Wizard’s gang hits Wizard over the head with a guitar.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Lyla is in hospital after being hit by a car (not actually shown) but she looks awful, with her face pasty and bruised.
  • When Evan arrives in New York City the sights and sounds are quite scary.
  • Evan meets Arthur busking in New York. Arthur takes him ‘home’ to a dilapidated, old theatre where there are a lot of homeless children and adults living.
  • Wizard is a scary looking person.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the scenes described above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Wizard’s control of Evan is quite scary. He arrives at the music school pretending to be Evan’s father and is very threatening to Evan. He persuades him to tell the music school director that he is in fact his father.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Pepsi

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Discussion of the conception and birth of Evan.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • passionate kissing

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Drinking and smoking in pubs, clubs and cars.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Crap
  • Shit

In a nutshell

August Rush is a movie which portrays the triumph of the human spirit over dire circumstances. It includes some lovely music and captures the depth and complexity of human emotions.

The main message from this movie is to follow your heart.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Perseverance in following one’s beliefs.
  • The love of music.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • the consequences of casual sex, including a one night stand.
  • the long term effects of placing a child into custodial care.
  • the consequences of making important life decisions on behalf of others.

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