Film scores

Soundtrack review: Lost for words (Andre Matthias – 2015)

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“Lost for words” id a story set in Hong Kong about a damaged young American who falls for a Chinese ballerina. They start teaching each other English and Chinese and as the lessons progress they start falling in love. The outside conditions will do their best to put barriers between them. The score is written by Andre Matthias, a new name for me. I am always excited to discover a new composer plus usually dramas involving Eastern soundscapes have great scores.

The opening, “A new land” charms me. It’s a blend of a modern, exciting sound and a beautiful violin theme and it sounds more like the end credits of a movie that ends on a hopeful note. I guess coming to the new land is perceived by our main character as an exciting experience and a new beginning. The final minute of this first theme conquers me with how melodic and honest it is. This is the kind of start that brings me a lot of joy.

I enjoy the soft melancholy and mysterious echoes of this score. The emotions are subdued but I can feel them smoldering underneath the soft strings that make up most of this score. The music is delicate and sensible and it is very suited for the Oriental setting of the story. The musical love story isn’t a tempest; the feelings develop in time, smoothly, gradually, and the voice that tells us the story is also calm and it doesn’t change its tone very often.

Surprisingly, my favorite moments from “Lost for words” are the charming moments when they teach each other the foreign language. The strings sound like rain drops falling on a beautiful summer day and I can hear the back and forth, the playful and amusing tries. The strings are themselves playful and enchanting. A cue like “Heart strings” just makes me smile and dream. It’s a short and tumultuous cello piece which must express what’s going on inside the two lovers.

The silk veil weaved by Andre Matthias has slowly covered me and as the score progresses I am feeling more and more comfortable in this calm lake. I don’t feel the emotions of the story first hand, I only see their reflection and this is an interesting sensation. Everything I feel is an exact replica but dimmed. Each time I feel the score is a little too quiet a cue like the “Love theme” comes up and whisks all my doubts away. This is how a love theme should sound like; this is the sound of true love. Just a sweepingly beautiful theme.

Other times I can’t put my finger on what intrigues me so much about this score. I hear a tango like “Clouds” and it just sounds unique to me. I want to hear more, I want to know more, I want to see what’s hiding behind those notes. There’s a soft, somber and almost elegiac choir at the end of it and the piano and strings dance quietly with each other as if the night was ending. Somehow it reminded me of a Leonard Cohen instrumental song, “Tacoma Trailer”. Haven’t thought of that song in a while.

Even if the first half did seem a little too quiet for me, the embrace “Lost for words” put on me after a few cues didn’t let go until the end. Andre Matthias’ music spoke to me in a way very few other scores did, it reached some hidden room inside me that’s not often visited. This score leaves me with a healthy dose of melancholy and more questions than answers. For me, the listening experience was very rewarding. I don’t know about the love story in the film, but I adored the one in the music. Try it for yourself!

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 26 / 47

Album excellence: 55%

Highlights:

A New City

Yes Is Yes. No Is No.

Heart Strings

Love Theme – Lost For Words

Clouds

Three Days

A Big World

Raindrops And Tears

Forget The Words. Follow Your Heart.

 

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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