Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Music Never Stopped

Oliver Sacks' stories have long been interesting to me - whether directly in written form or occasionally in movies (Awakenings, At First Sight). He is a neurologist and likes to write about unusual cases in a very human and intriguing way.

The Music Never Stopped is another great example that is worth watching both for its fascinating example of the power of music in shaping and activating the brain and for its simple and moving story. The story begins with a couple in their sixties becoming reunited with their thirty-something son after the son is found with severe brain damage (from a benign tumour that was left far too long). As a result the son is fairly "blank" and lifeless - very difficult to connect with and incapable of forming new memories.

As the story unfolds, we see that father and son both were deeply formed by music, but the music was different and the accompanying beliefs at odds. The result was a break that left the relationship completely cut off. The movie is about how music's miraculous ability to access memory and other parts of the brain creates an opportunity for music to re-connect what it once helped to separate.

This film is filled with things to think about for fathers and sons, for considering life's priorities and for wondering about the mystery of music and all of its potential which we still barely understand. It may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but it's a story I heartily recommend. I gladly rate it ***+ with a mug held high.

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