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The Music Never Stopped (2011)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  27 October 2011 (South Korea)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 5,175 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 26 user | 55 critic | 13 from

Tale of a father who struggles to bond with his estranged son Gabriel, after Gabriel suffers from a brain tumor that prevents him from forming new memories. With Gabriel unable to shed the ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Biscow
Mike Tappin
Young Gabriel
Ryan Karels ...
Mark Ferris
Jesse Roche ...
Dianne Daley
College Representative (as Erica Berg)


Tale of a father who struggles to bond with his estranged son Gabriel, after Gabriel suffers from a brain tumor that prevents him from forming new memories. With Gabriel unable to shed the beliefs and interests that caused their physical and emotional distance, Henry must learn to embrace his son's choices and try to connect with him through music. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, some mild drug references, language and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 October 2011 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Mr. Tamburine Man  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$76,543 (USA) (18 March 2011)


$258,077 (USA) (9 September 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"The Music Never Stopped" is Grateful Dead song from their 1975 album "Blues For Allah" See more »


In the opening shot of the house, the year is listed as 1986 but a modern satellite dish is shown on the roof. See more »


Henry Sawyer: They don't just play the notes on the page.
Gabriel Sawyer: No, they play what's in the air, you know?
See more »


References The Partridge Family (1970) See more »


Christmas Wish
Written by Joey Spampinato
Performed by NRBQ
Published by Hi Varieties Music Inc. & Music Sales Corp.
Courtesy of NRBQ by arrangement with Bug
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One of the year's very best! J.K. Simmons gives a pitch-perfect performance!
5 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm so glad to have been able to see this movie. Most of you will know J.K. Simmons as Jonah Jameson from the Spider-Man movies, although his list of work is impressive. I haven't heard of Lou Taylor Pucci before and now because of this film, I'll keep my eye out for him. This movie works because of the performances and heartfelt emotions you will feel throughout. With a very easygoing approach, the characters suck you into their lives and will have you feeling practically everything they are displaying on the screen.

Henry (Simmons) and Helen (Saymour) Sawyer receive a telephone call from the hospital. It appears that their son, Gabriel (Pucci) has turned up. He looks dazed and confused when they arrive to see him. The doctor (Adsit) informs them that Gabriel has a brain tumor and once they remove it, he will lose a good chunk of his brain that supplies the ability to form new memories and will give him what appears to be amnesia. Henry takes the news pretty hard because he threw Gabriel out of the house more than twenty years ago. It eats up at him and even gets him fired from his job because even though he's there, he's not really there. With the medical bills starting to pile up, Helen goes to work and tells Henry to go visit with Gabriel. As Henry starts to bond with his son, he starts doing some research and sees that their might be a connection to Gabriel's memories and music. After reading a column written by Dianne Daley (Ormond), a musical therapist, he tracks her down and informs her that he read her article. "Oh, so you're the one who read it," she jokes. The light bits of humor they have in the film are very important because it is a very somber story and humor is always used to alleviate tension, which the film does masterfully. She gets started straight away with Gabriel and has one breakthrough after another in getting Gabriel to open up by playing old records. It seems he doesn't remember the music as much as he remembers what he was doing and/or thinking the first time he heard the music. It opens up all kinds of new doors to Henry, who can finally talk to his son about what happened that night twenty years ago. Throw in a little side story about a very sweet cafeteria worked named Celia (Maestro) who Gabriel has a crush on, Henry going out of his way to get Gabriel the surprise of his lifetime and one of the best soundtracks in motion pictures and you've got an excellent film that just speaks to you on so many levels.

This movie is as funny as it is heart-breaking. The writer, the director and the actors all did outstanding jobs on this film. I loved all of the humor that was put into this film. And it wasn't unintentional humor, it was perfectly choreographed to show us that there's so much more to tragedy than all the pain and suffering. Yes, there are some moments in the film where tears will well up and you think you might lose it at any moment, but something will happen or someone will say something or even better yet, the music will play and it will reel you back in so you can function without blubbering at the same time. The acting is superb in this one. J.K. Simmons gives a pitch-perfect performance as the father who regrets his actions two decades ago. The film is also partly told in flashbacks, so we get a nice comparison of what and who each man was and how they treated each other and how they came to be where they are now.

Yes, it is an independent film and the budget wasn't all that huge, but as I've said before, you don't need a lot of money, special effects or explosions to tell a good story. With some films we expect it (big budget action pictures), with other films (such as this one), all it needed was the story and the performances. Once you have those, the rest is just filler. One thing that did distract me a bit from Pucci's performance was his amazingly bad fake beard -- what did the producers do.... join a Beard-of-the-Month Club or something? Give me something at least tolerable, for crying out loud. Fake wookie beard aside, I loved The Music Never Stopped. I urge everyone to see this film, easily one of the year's very best.

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Final Grade: A-

10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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