Film scores

Soundtrack review: How to fight in six inch heals (Christopher Wong – 2015)

“How to fight in six inch heels” is my first brush with Vietnamese cinema. It’s a romantic comedy about a fashion designer from New York City who thinks her fiancée in Vietnam might be cheating on her with a supermodel. So she goes through a dramatic makeover to infiltrate the Saigon scene. There she forms a bond with three of the supermodels. From what I read this movie is a story of sisterhood and of the complex relationships between girls. The score was written by Christopher Wong who had a chance in college to study privately under Jerry Goldsmith.

The suggestively titled opening “My life” introduces the main character to us. It’s a cheerfully optimistic composition which puts me in a good mood. It doesn’t stay in the usual feel good comedic zone. It goes a little further, a little bolder and it sounds fresh and exciting. This is a really nice opening and a joy for someone like me who is always worried about overly comedic scores. The next cue confirms that this score is special and I should forget my worries. “Forty looks” is again jolly and vibrant and the instruments seem to be celebrating something. The short piano or string interludes make me imagine a group of kids standing in a circle very preoccupied with a subject they all have an opinion on. And just like when you see a scene like that you’re either in the mood to hear those kids or not, it’s the same with this score. I know for sure that there are enough moments when I wouldn’t have had patience with it. Fortunately, it caught me in the right mood and I love it.

“Sketches of you” is a delightful little tango which makes me smile. Christopher Wong surely put a lot of heart in this score and I can hear that in the music. There are enough scores where I feel that the composer might have been a bit bored or rushed but it’s not the case here. The music of “How to fight in six inch heals” was written with joy and care. I haven’t felt this way about a romantic comedy score since “Love actually”. Quirky moments like “Busy and distracted” are fun and playful. Romantic moments like “First time out” have just the right dose of melancholy. And all the moments sound witty and playful.

After all this story is about four young girls becoming friends, then fighting, then having doubts, then being friends again. It’s a story about sisters so it’s supposed to be this charming. My favorite piece from this score is the piano theme “The petal offering”. It’s probably the most serious cue from “How to fight in six inch heals” but it doesn’t stray from the general sound. It’s that moment when after all the fun and laughs the mood gets serious enough for a nice gesture to be made and appreciated. It’s the moment of realization that something good might come of a situation, something good and unexpected.

I enjoyed myself a lot listening to Christopher Wong’s composition which ends up as one of the nicest surprises I’ve had lately.

Cue rating: 79 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 7 / 33

Album excellence: 21%

Highlights:

Forty Looks

We’ll Be Together Soon

The Petal Offering

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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