Film scores

Soundtrack review: Addicted to love (Rachel Portman – 1997)

“Addicted to love” is a dark revenge comedy from 1997, staring Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick. Now Meg Ryan comedies are usually sweet and romantic but this one was a delightfully different kind of film. Here both she and Matthew Broderick try their best through all sorts of nonsense and nasty tricks to break up the couple formed by their two exes. Those guys didn’t do anything to deserve all this but that’s beside the point. This is a movie that’s special to me because I saw it on my first day of college. There was a two hour break between courses and me and my best friend just crossed the street to the theater and watched this movie. I haven’t forgotten it. Rachel Portman wrote the score.

Rachel Portman’s music is so elegant that it should have been the only thing played in Victorian England. Ok, this is an American romantic comedy but just listen to the delightful opening “Observatory”. The first minute sounds like ball room music and makes me think of meadows and sun umbrellas and then it turns into a playful string piece before coming back to beautiful, waltzing music. All this in a two minute long cue. This is Rachel Portman, she does that and that is why almost all of her scores are wonderful gems.

I have heard many comedic compositions from various composers. Some were generic, others marvelous and yet this one surprises me. It is pure orchestral wonder and all the twists and turns of the wacky schemes of the characters are created from various instruments which I am having a great time identifying. The flute marks the tender moments of doubt while the string section furiously gives stride to all those initiatives. There’s something both childlike and adult in the music; it’s a rare and enchanting mix and there is no malice in the music even if the characters have plenty. Rachel Portman’s composition is itself funny as a comedy of errors where everything is controlled.

The piano couldn’t miss and there are a few magical piano themes. “Painting the wall” almost chokes me with delight. There’s a whole range of piano emotions in this one, from slow and reflective to playful to simply beautiful. This score is like a taste of a fully organic vegetable after you’ve eaten only regular supermarket vegetables for months. You can taste something special, something clean, and something that was grown with care for the end user. Rachel Portman’s music is organic music to cure all the synthetic music addicts.

You can enjoy the score to “Addicted to love” even more than the movie. It’s more or a musical in itself without the voices. You can make up your own images and you will find yourself laughing more than once while listening to this score. You will also get emotional and you can listen to this score with your kids because it will put them in a good mood as well. “Addicted to love” is a sweet little gem I am happy to have discovered this month. It is full of surprises and a very rewarding journey. It is easily one of my favorite comedic scores. I invited you to taste it…

Cue rating: 96 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 25 / 30

Album excellence: 83%

Highlights:

Observatory

Water Pistol Attack

Sam’s Chant

Painting The Wall

Rotten Strawberries

Back To The Plan

Cockroaches

Back From The Hospital

Fight

We’re Even

Walk Across The Street

Sam Comes Home

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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