Film scores

Soundtrack review: Love and friendship (Mark Suozzo – 2016)

Album Artwork

“Love & Friendship” is a 2016 romantic comedy film written and directed by Whit Stillman. It is based on Jane Austen’s epistolary novel Lady Susan first published in 1871. The film stars Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel and Stephen Fry. Set in the 1790s, the widowed Lady Susan Vernon seeks refuge with her in-laws as rumors about her private life circulate through society. While staying at the estate, Lady Susan decides to find herself and her daughter, Frederica, a husband. As Lady Susan embarks on a controversial relationship with a married man, seduction, deception, broken hearts, and gossip all ensue. Mark Suozzo was in charge of the score.

I know that I’m romanticizing this score by saying this, but why not? The album is 32 minutes long and has 27 cues so each of them is barely a minute long… the score is made of short wonderful moments just like a love story or a friendship should be in real life. Love and friendship are made of memories and sometimes of the way we interpret and reinterpret those memories and moments. This score is more particular than other film music albums; instead of an original composition it’s made of short motifs, overtures and inserts from well-known or obscure classical compositions of the times. The Gregorian age is brought to live through harp themes, marches and various emotional pieces. It’s a welcomed journey for me; I love classical music and I don’t care that this score isn’t original safe for a couple of cues; I just enjoy each cue as if I was browsing through an old photo album where each page shows a different mood.

Each piece was carefully chosen and even if the story at hand would probably demand an even bigger variety, Mark Suozzo and those involved in the movie chose to use the score to set the proper atmosphere and to help the listeners and movie goers to travel back in time to the age when the movie takes place. I can imagine the score working very well in the context of the movie and, as I said, for a classical music fan, it’s a joy to get an album like this every now and then.

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 13 / 32

Album excellence: 40%

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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