A Bonding Story

Nostalgic music lovers and sentimentalist of all ages will enjoy viewing The Music Never Stopped, written by Gwyn Laurie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2005) and Gary Marks (Shootout TV series 2005) and directed by Jim Kohlberg. The Music Never Stopped is a touching story about a father who uses music in an attempt to understand his estranged son who suffers from memory loss due to a brain tumor.

The Music Never Stopped maintains a level of familiarity, reminding us that our past actions reflect our future and accountability. J.K. Simmons (Mac MacGuff in Juno), gives a realistic portrayal of the concerned and understanding father, Henry Sawyer. His character realizes his regret for his lack of compassion and understanding which drove his son, Gabriel, away from home as a teenager. A music therapist (played by talented, Julia Ormond (Legends of the Fall with Brad Pitt) is hired and discovers that Gabriel becomes almost normal when he listens to early 1970’s anti-Vietnam music. Baby-boomer’s and music lovers will sing along with music from: The Grateful Dead; The Beatles; Buffalo Springfield; Jefferson Starship; and Bob Dylan.

Gabriel Sawyer’s part is convincingly played by Lou Taylor Pucci (The Informers with Kim Basinger and Billy Bob Thornton). You are bound to fall in love with Gabriel’s character as he instigates laughs by completing remembered cliche’s. Gabriel recalls incidences during the hippie movement: his first love, his being drafted; and arguments he and his father had. Memories are recalled through flashbacks with talented newcomer, Max Antisell, playing the younger Gabriel.

Gabriel Sawyer is found wandering the streets in Manhattan and taken to a hospital. His parents are notified and informed about his memory loss due to a massive brain tumor. At the beginning of the film, we notice Henry sitting in a chair in a seemingly coma-like state, as the telephone rings off the hook. A few scenes later, Henry is booted from his job, and reluctantly agrees to visit Gabriel in the hospital on a daily basis. Henry brings in music albums and begins learning everything he can about them, even the words to Grateful Dead songs. The father and son bond begins to form.

Henry begins to go through a gradual transformation as he grows closer to a need to have a “normal discussion” with his son. We witness more compassion, as well as a break in the language gap which existed between them, notably ‘Hippie’ expressions such as Trippy.” Although a well written and believable story, there was a scene that seemed Gabriel only experienced selective memory – when he remembers Celia, played by the Argentinean actress, Mia Maestro (TV Series Alias), the hospital cafeteria lady. Aside from this one miscalculation, the story proceeds to grow with audience participation.

Get your popcorn and soda, and use the toilet before you take your seat. This is a movie you’ll not want to miss a minute. Cheers to Mr. Kohlberg for his Directing debut.

Rating: ♥♥♥