If rock 'n' roll movies were to be broken down into musical genres, "The Music Never Stopped" would have the slow reveal of a ballad and the storytelling sensibility of a '60s troubadour. Based on a published case history by bestselling author Oliver Sacks, "The Music Never Stopped," out on DVD on Aug. 2, refashions a strained father-son relationship as one that can only be healed through rock 'n' roll.
A feel-good story, yes, but one that cleverly underscores how music can shape a personality and stand as a generation dividing line in the sand. Lou Taylor Pucci stars as Gabriel, the once freewheeling hippie whose been long estranged from his father, Henry, portrayed with touching coldness by J.K. Simmons. A brain tumor renders Gabriel unable to form new memories, and sends him home to reconnect with his family.
With the help of a music therapist, Henry and Gabriel have the opportunity to bond, but only by allowing Gabriel to explore the music that shaped his life -- the songs of Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and more. One problem: Pops hates rock 'n' roll, and the songs not only provide a cinematic soundtrack, but cut to the core of the film's tension.
In reviewing the film for The Times, Robert Abele wrote, "In key spots, thanks to Simmons' brilliantly wounded gruffness and Pucci's nimble toggling act between vacancy and awakened spirit, 'The Music Never Stopped' achieves an admirable poignancy about our emotional, healing relationship to the songs we love."
The home video editions will come equipped with the requisite deleted scenes and interviews. Among them are clips that showcase Gabriel's inability to hold a constant thought, as well as those that flash back to his '60s recklessness. The deleted scene below is of the latter, yet it also provides a brief foreshadowing of the illness to come.