It’s the year 1986 and Gabriel (Pucci) has just had a brain tumour removed, resulting in memory loss and an inability to create any new long-term memories. His recollections peter out around the 1970 mark, around the time when he fell out with his dad, Henry (Simmons), and left home, never to return again. In an attempt to help his son regain a semblance of his life again, Henry reaches out to Dianne (Ormond), a music therapist who thinks that Gabriel’s favourite music from the period he remembers could help trigger his memory. The Music Never Stops tells the story of how the father and son reconnect over their shared love of music.

Considering the time period, it’s only appropriate that the film be crammed with music by artists such as Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Steppenwolf and Cream; with the most prominent being the Grateful Dead. It’s quite satisfying to hear some of these artists’ best songs showcased prominently, being appropriately revered by Gabriel.

Dylan’s ‘Desolation Row’ in particular gets a pretty awesome showcase where Gabriel goes all starry eyed, analyzes the song and starts explaining to his dad exactly why he connects with it so much. This kind of situation happens quite often throughout the film, but it rarely works as well as it does here mainly due to Pucci’s performance, which is disappointingly one-note. He reacts to every song in exactly the same way, gasping and flinging around a bunch of ‘far out’s and ‘trippy’. He reacts the same way to the Grateful Dead as he does to every other song from the aforementioned bands even though we’re told in no uncertain terms that he’s a deadhead through and through.

On the other hand, Simmons is heartbreaking as Henry. He gives an absolutely fantastic performance. Henry goes through a whole cycle where he worries about his son, is absolutely distressed over his memory loss, loses hope in ever getting him back to normal until he discovers music therapy and clutches at it desperately. Throughout the film, Henry and Gabriel work out their relationship, and Henry learns to see his son as an individual with his own personality instead of an extension of himself. He learns to face up to his parenting faults instead of continuing to blame rock and roll for poisoning his son with ‘controversial’ political beliefs.

Although it goes on a little too long, The Music Never Stopped is sweetly upbeat with an epic soundtrack. Fans of this kind of music will connect with Gabriel simply on a musical appreciation level. As hokey as it sounds, they’ll completely understand why he feels inspired when he hears certain songs and that, next to Simmons’ performance, is the most uplifting thing about the film.