Soundtrack review: Loving (David Wingo – 2016)
“Loving” is a 2016 historical drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. It features Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia in a story about an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court with the invalidation of state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The score was written by David Wingo.
The score opens quite abruptly with “Proposal” which leads me to believe that the focus will be more on the legal battle then on the love affair. This opening cue is grave and elegant and somehow tells me how hard it was for him to make that proposal in those times, what a weight in brought apart from the emotions. This heavy cloud hangs above the entire score. The composer makes sure we don’t forget what the issue is in this story…this is not just about love but about hardship and changing the world for the best. I get a feeling of sacrifice from the implacably dark way the music develops. The score keeps me on the edge as if I was waiting for the results of some very important test or analysis. The piano is subtle and slow, the strings are used in long motifs and nothing in this composition gives the impression of speed or rushing which adds to the feeling of heaviness I was talking about earlier.
“Loving” gives me the impression of led: it’s minimalistic but dense; it never gets loud but it makes a statement. Sometimes though it loses me without the support of the images; Cues like “Call the lawyer” or “DC” kind of fade in the background if I don’t pay real attention to them. For me this score is more suited for a documentary; maybe the story is meant to be looked upon like this. David Wingo has experience in writing documentary music and it came in handy here. I need to see the movie to get a better feel of the music in context because as a standalone listen, save a cue like “Baseball game” it doesn’t work that well for me.
What I will remember from this score is the elegance of the music and the respectful and somber tone it had. The composition is suitable for a story like this and this is what it’s all about.
Cue rating: 80 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 5 / 38
Album excellence: 12%