Film scores

Soundtrack review: Autism in love (Mac Quayle – 2015)

autism

“Autism in love” is a feature length documentary that explores the lives of four autistic adults as they pursue and manage romantic relationships. Autism is a neurological disorder characterized by impaired social interactions and communication, and often restricted by repetitive behavior. It typically reveals itself in the first three years of a child’s development and can be highly variable in its symptoms. I remember last year there was another documentary like this “Spectrum” which benefitted from a wonderful score by Freddie Wiedman. This time Mac Quayle, fresh from the release of “Mr. Robot” provides the musical companion.

The title theme shows me how the score will be; the composer doesn’t let the music get overly dramatic or heavy. This is not the point of the documentary, this is not what the people affected need; the main theme has a Thomas Newman like optimism and lightness that makes me smile and empathize.

“Lenny” is the first quieter moment of the score and it’s a charming guitar theme. There’s sadness in it or, better said, melancholy. I imagine the romantic world of someone affected by autism has a special kind of atmosphere… “A kiss and a hug” (a title wonderful through its simplicity) is a beautiful piece of ambient music, quiet and slow. Sometimes that’s all someone needs to be happy and the music shows me just that.

From what I’ve read autism is the kind of condition that requires patience from the ones around and Mac Quayle’s score invites us to take is slow and pay more attention too special moments. The music never gets loud or busy. The guitar usually does most of the work and takes its time in unweaving emotions. I enjoy listening to this score because it’s relaxing and borders with minimalism. Sometimes I don’t need more.

Besides the subject itself, “Autism in love” is a documentary and the music needed to let the images speak. The composer knew not to take the focus away from the stories of the four people but to support it and let the music speak when words were lacking. My favorite cue is “All the way down here” because of its depth, intensity and unanswered questions. It’s a beautiful ambient piece which leaves an echo inside me. The mood continues into “Laid to rest”.

With “Autism in love” I have another score to place in that special category where gems by people like Rob Simonsen or Dan Romer enjoy an endless summer. Mac Quayle turns 180 degrees from his “Mr. Robot” score to a more sensitive and warm territory.

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 18 / 37

Album excellence: 49%

Highlights:

  1. Lenny
  2. A Kiss and a Hug
  3. A Certain Way
  4. All The Way Down Here
  5. Laid To Rest
  6. A Remarkable Journey

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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