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Review: The Music Never Stopped

An exploration of music’s power to heal
By BRETT MICHEL  |  March 31, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

An exploration of music's power to heal, this maudlin movie (based on Oliver Sacks's essay "The Last Hippie") features go-to supporting player J.K. Simmons in a rare leading role. Bouncing back and forth between 1986 and 1967, first-time director Jim Kohlberg over-relies on a strong soundtrack (featuring the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Grateful Dead) to supply the emotional underpinnings that the screenplay from Gary Marks and Gwyn Lurie lacks. But Simmons's talents carry the film, elevating the work of his fellow actors. He's Henry Sawyer, the once-stern father who drove his hippie offspring Gabriel (Lou Taylor Pucci) away from home. Nearly 20 years later, the prodigal son returns — with a brain tumor that's destroyed his short-term memory. With the help of a therapist (Julia Ormond), the music that drove them apart becomes the instrument that brings them together.

  Topics: Reviews , Movies, The Beatles, Bob Dylan,  More more >
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