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The Music Never Stopped

The Music Never Stopped: Sweet Drama about the Healing Power of Music

  • Cara SeymourJ.K. Simmons...
  • Drama
  • Out now
  • Jim Kohlberg
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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The Music Never Stopped: Sweet Drama about the Healing Power of Music

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.  

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360 Tip

Getting the rights to the music turned out to be a pretty easy affair. The rock stars, who were apparently pretty jazzed at being portrayed in a positive light instead of being painted as Satan incarnate, signed on pretty quickly; with Dylan being the first to do so quickly followed by the Dead.

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