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The Music Never Stopped

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the author of Awakenings comes this heartwarming tale of a father and son who find a connection through the music that embodied the generation gap of the 1960s. An unforgettable soundtrack features the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and more.


What is it about music that delivers a fully formed emotional memory years, even decades, later--as though you were hearing it for the very first time? The Music Never Stopped examines the emotional power of music in a touching, lovely way that will stay with the viewer long after the film is over. The Music Never Stopped is based on a true story first told in an essay by Oliver Sacks (Awakenings), about a young man who develops a brain tumor that prevents him from making any new memories after 1970. The film opens in the mid-1980s when the boy, now in his 30s (played with subtlety and humor by Lou Taylor Pucci, reminiscent of a young Sam Rockwell), is rediscovered after a long absence by his parents. J.K. Simmons, the veteran TV actor, plays Gabe's heartbroken dad, and gives the performance of his life--true, real, grounded and believable. The Music Never Stopped traces the work of a young music therapist (Julia Ormond, also terrific) who discovers that Gabe's brain can make new memories if it involves learning a new piece of music. So Gabe's dad immerses himself in Gabe's favorite music--the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, Cream, the Beatles--and hatches a plan to reconnect with his son. Part of the beauty of The Music Never Stopped is that the experience of watching it mirrors what is happening on the screen; listening to the great music of the '60s instantly brings memories and emotions to the surface, not only in the characters, but in the viewers as well. It's to director Jim Kohlberg's great credit that he achieves this feat, and that he lets the story unfold simply without unneeded schmaltz. Any parent who's felt estranged from a child, any child who's felt at odds with a parent, and anyone who's ever really and truly loved music--which means just about anyone--will find a lot of heart and soul in The Music Never Stopped. --A.T. Hurley

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: J.K. Simmons, Lou Taylor Pucci
  • Directors: Jim Kohlberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Roadside Attractions
  • DVD Release Date: August 2, 2011
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004QL7JTE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,804 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Music Never Stopped" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Wonderful story, superb acting, and great music.
Based on a true story, it shows us how powerful music can be as an instrument in affecting people's lives.
Christine Balch
This film really gets down to the clean basics of film making -- just substance, no fluff.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 22, 2011
Format: DVD
Oliver Sacks, M.D. is a physician and professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center. In 2007, he was named the first Columbia University Artist, in recognition of his contributions to the arts. THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED is an adaptation (by Gwyn Lurie and Gary Marks) of "The Last Hippie", a short story/essay from Sacks' "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", a collection of case history stories. Dr. Sacks is a neurologist who has spent his career diagnosing, evaluating, and treating a variety of neurological disorders (and the oftentimes the profound personality shifts that resulted in brain injury or trauma). This information provides a bit of reality ground to the film and makes it all the more important to see and respect. As directed by Jim Kohlberg, this film is a quiet, reverent, at times disturbing exploration of the many aspects of brain function and malfunction and an example of adaptation to these challenges.

Gabriel Sawyer (Lou Taylor Pucci) was a bright youngster in the 1070s when the Vietnam war was altering the nation's perception of right and wrong as expressed in the music of Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Cream, the Beatles, etc. Longing to be a professional musician he foregoes his parent's wishes that he attend college and with regret leaves his girlfriend Tamara (Tammy Blanchard) and takes off for New York's Greenwich Village. Fast forward to 1986 and Gabriel is hospitalized for an enormous brain tumor, surgically removed, but leaving Gabriel without the ability to remember. At this point Gabriel's parents are located and his father Henry (J.K. Simmons) and mother Helen (Cara Seymour) visit him in the hospital, longing to reconnect with the son that has been absent for fifteen years.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By dcerva on June 1, 2011
Format: DVD
I saw this film at Sundance and right away it became my favorite for the year. This film has a great and touching story, but so many do. What sets this film apart from so many others, is that it isnt trying too hard. The idea behind this film is simple and it is simply made -- no ultra crazy cinematography, no avant-garde editing. The script is also simple in the fact that it doesnt try to add ficticious elements to real life problems to try and make them ultra dramatic. This film really gets down to the clean basics of film making -- just substance, no fluff.
Aside from production, I really enjoyed this film becasue I am a huge fan of 60's and 70's rock and roll. All of the visible themes of this film are interweaved with being able to indentify with music. Anyone who has ever been moved by a particular song, album, or band will "get" this film. Anyone who grew up while the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, and Hendrix were all releasing music and during the Vietnam War will be able to relate to the emotion of this story. This Film does not take place in the 60's, but relives it.
Without giving away to much of the plot, I will simply say that this film is about the relationship between a father and a son -- both love music and are moved by the music of their day, but dont have much else in common.
This is a must see, at least once.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Wilkinson on July 29, 2011
Format: DVD
"(Rhythm) is there in the cycles of the seasons, in the migrations of the birds and animals, in the fruiting and withering of plants, and in the birth, maturation and death of ourselves," -Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead)

What is it about music that resonates so much with people? Is it chemical? A part of the brain that responds to the frequencies and rhythm of certain sounds played in a progression? Or, is it just the fact that it makes one "feel" something?

Music, like any other form of art brings out a "feeling" in the one experiencing it. Those feelings will be different for everyone and some will be permanently effected by them. Music can do many things. It can heal, damage, make you dance, give you a headache and even make you "high". According to many music therapists, it can also help recall memories. "The Music Never Stopped" explores this phenomenon beautifully and is a testament to our souls connection with our music. Set in the 80's with flashbacks to the 60's and 70's "The Music Never Stopped" has some of the best music from the bands of that era. The film runs the gamete of emotions and has some powerful performances from the actors and classic bands such as The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles.

Gabriel, a 30 something man with a brain tumor is unable to form new memories. He can remember his life growing up, playing music and following his favorite bands around the country, but he can't remember what his nurse just said to him 5 minutes ago. Lou Tayler Pucci plays the down to earth "hippie" Gabriel graciously and I was very impressed with his performance. He was subtle but beautifully represented those of us obsessed with music and it's meanings.
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Format: DVD
"Music elicits measurable responses in the brain's activity" After Henry (Simmons) has a fight with his son Gabriel (Pucci), he decides that home is no longer for him and leaves. 20 years later Gabriel is found with a brain tumor that eliminates long term memory. After thinking he is still in the sixties his parents struggle to find a way to communicate with him. When a therapist discovers that music is the answer his parents have to adjust their lives to get their son back. This is an amazing movie. Much like "Barney's Version" and "Trust", this is a movie that didn't get the advertising that this deserved and will not be seen by the audience it should have. An extremely touching movie that deals with a strained father and son relationship, and the struggle to reconnect. There is not enough good things I can say about this movie. Much like "Trust" this is a movie that has the possibility of helping people and can become much more then just a movie. I cannot recommend this enough, do yourself a favor and watch this movie. You will be moved to tears and be left with an absolutely satisfying feeling. Why can't more movies be this way? Overall, one of the best movies in the last 10 years, and next to "Barney's Version" the best movie of the year. I easily give it an A+.

Would I watch again? - Absolutely.

*Also try - Barney's Version & Mr. Holland's Opus
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