Film scores

Soundtrack review: Je vous souhaite d’etre follement aimee (Ibrahim Maalouf – 2016)

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“Je vous souhaite d’être follement aimée” AKA Looking For Her is a 2015 French drama film directed by Ounie Lecomte and starring Céline Sallette, Anne Benoît and Françoise Lebrun. Elisa is a physical therapist. With her young son, Noé, she moves to Dunkirk, the city where she was born and given up for adoption, 30 years earlier. Elisa is determined to pursue the impossible task of finding her biological mother in order to understand her past and their story. A twist of fate is going to upend her expectations. The score is composed by Ibrahim Maalouf.

The opening cue “Dunkerque” puzzles me a bit. There’s a warm jazzy sound that’s pleasing to the ear but every now and then there’s a modern electronic percussion that sort of breaks the nice flow of the cue for me. I find those inserts unnecessary. The second cue charms me with a lovely piano motif, quiet and sweet, and sometimes this is all I need to love a cue. I like what the piano does here so much that I keep looking for it in the cues that follow “Retour a la maternite”. I find it again in “Rencontre” which is just a quiet solo piano theme that could work anytime, anyplace. This is the kind of piece that just flies away from the score it was composed for and affects each listener in a different way. This is not the kind of cue to be confined to a story. It should be free for anyone to use for whatever moments he or she needs.

I love when I get lost in score. Sometimes the music is so timeless and alluring that I go in deep and forgot where I came from. The piano in “Je vous souhaite d’etre follement aimee” drills and drills and I follow the trail because I am addicted. Once again I am awoken by the modern electronic percussion that spoils “Une illusion” a bit. I feel as if I am listening to a beautiful cue on the radio but another station interferes. Without those modern inserts this composition would have had a perfect score from me.

Luckily the interferences are rare and I can enjoy the wonderful and warm sounds that Ibrahim Maalouf created. This is a deep score, one that touches me and one that I will remember. The piano… the soulful jazz motifs… the general sadness of the tone, they are all elements that will separate “Looking for her” from many other scores. This one marks a very nice beginning of the year and I am happy it was released so early and in a quiet period because I might have missed it otherwise.

Cue rating: 85 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 17 / 30

Album excellence: 55%

Highlights:

Retour à la maternité

La rencontre

Ritournelle I

Ritournelle II

Annette

L’abandon

Elisa

Je vous souhaite d’être follement aimée

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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