Lyla Novacek (Keri Russell) an acclaimed concert cellist who, by chance, meets the lead singer of a rock band, Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) at a party in New York City. They spend a night together and the next morning promise to reunite at a nearby square. But, Lyla’s controlling father and manager, Thomas (William Sadler) intervenes and the couple go their separate ways.
However, Lyla is pregnant and when she tries to leave her father’s control, she suffers an accident. Thomas signs away the child for adoption while telling Lyla she lost the baby.
Eleven years later, Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) an empathetic child with a gift for hearing the music in everyday sounds and noises is living in a rural home for boys. He doesn’t fit in and eventually runs away from the home and finds himself in New York City. The care worker handling his case, Richard Jeffries (Terrence Howard) is unable to find him. Evan encounters another child on the streets, Arthur (Leon Thomas III), who plays guitar and busks in the same square where Lyla and Louis had promised to meet in 11 years earlier. Evan follows Arthur back to his home, where he lives with other street urchins under the control of Maxwell “Wizard” Wallace (Robin Williams). Wizard gives Evan the stage name August Rush and from there events transpire that may bring Evan, Lyla and Louis together.
The relentlessly implausible storyline is really just a device for what is a sentimental fairy tale of love and music. Despite August Rush’s sugary tone and uneven performances (Highmore and Rhys Meyers are excellent, Williams and Russell are not), August Rush is not without charm and will have a whimsical appeal for family audiences. But, those looking for anything gritty or realistic would do well to continue their search elsewhere.