MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Roadside Attractions
Directed by Jim Kohlberg. Starring J. K. Simmons, Lou Taylor Pucci.
One of God’s greatest gifts and life’s grandest mysteries is the power of music to stir the mind and heart. Who could have imagined that the changing harmonics of sound waves could affect us so deeply? Neurologist Oliver Sachs wrote a 2007 book Musicophilia, filled with nothing but case studies of patients and their relationship with music. In 1995 Sachs wrote an essay called “The Oldest Hippie” (In the book An Anthropologist on Mars), which is the basis of this film.
The story begins in the late 1960s with Henry Sawyer (Simmons), a father who enjoys listening to the music of his life on the radio, including Bing Crosby and Peggy Lee. His son Gabriel (Taylor Pucci) is a hippie who grooves to Bob Dylan, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and the Grateful Dead. Welcome to the Generation Gap. Push eventually comes to shove and Gabriel leaves home to find himself and get away from the Old Man.
Gabriel disappears from his family for decades and is found wandering the streets of Manhattan. A brain tumor has left him an amnesiac, with all memories erased. A music therapist (Julia Ormond) discovers that certain songs are the link to the past and, for some reason, the only things that Gabe can recall. His father decides that if he’s ever going to reconnect with his son, he has to take a crash course in Baby Boomer music. Yes, younger readers, this is a terrifying proposition, but it’s for a good cause.
The Music Never Stopped (the title is from a Grateful Dead song)is touching and effective, due primarily to the performance of J. K. Simmons (Juno’s dad in Juno)who plays the adventurous father. The rest of the cast is good, but the production values (including the cheesy background score) make this seem like little more than a Made-for-TV Movie from the ’80s, even though this was filmed in 2011.
Still, it’s a great story and amazingly family friendly fare. So, Mom and Dad, take heed, grit your teeth and say: “Yes, son, I’d….love to hear…that Kanye West album one more time.”
Then force them to watch The Music Never Stopped with Grandpa.
Four halos: A positive film about the power of music and the possibilities of reconciliation.
One pitchfork: Some mild swearing and references to drug use and drinking.
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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