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Soundtrack review: The book of love (Justin Timberlake – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The book of love (Justin Timberlake – 2017)


“The Book of Love” (originally titled The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea) is an American film directed and rewritten by Bill Purple from an original script by Robbie Pickering featuring Maisie Williams, Jessica Biel, Jason Sudeikis, Mary Steenburgen, Orlando Jones, and Paul Reiser. Henry (Jason Sudeikis) is an introverted architect. After his wife Penny (Jessica Biel) is killed in a car accident, he sets out to help Millie (Maisie Williams), a homeless teen, build a raft to sail across the Atlantic. Jason Sudeikis in a drama…this I got to see. The score is written by Justin Timberlake (with Mitchell Owens) and this I definitely want to hear; I’ve always been a fan of Justic both as a musician and an actor and I’m curious how his first film score looks like. I feel like we’ve grown together since I’ve been following his career for about 20 years now. He’s fresh of a fantastic song for an animation film, the infectious “Can’t stop this feeling” from “Trolls”.

I am instantly charmed by the low key guitar and the female voice in “One of those stories”; the opening cue is simple yet efficient as it makes me imagine a beautiful story without knowing it yet. It’s nothing I haven’t heard yet but I am a sucker for minimalistic guitar music like this one (reminds me of Rob Simonsen a bit) so I like it; it’s the kind of dreamy film music that just take me over and puts me in a very good mood. The next insert, “Temerity” sounds even better as it deepens the reflective mood. And this goes on and on…I remember once again the first time I heard a Rob Simonsen score, how mesmerized I was and I kept looking for similar compositions. Here comes Justin, the master of joy and infectious fun to show us his sensitive side; don’t expect anything spectacular from this score. it’s low key, minimalistic, optimistic at times and melancholic at others but it’s simply perfect. The mood it sets just wraps me in a comfortable cocoon and I alternate between joy and sadness and nostalgia and melancholy and happiness all in small doses that wash over me like the gentle waves of the lazy afternoon sea. This are all normal states I might go through but the music just makes me feel so good about them. It makes me feel everything’s going to be fine. I hear echoes of Thomas Newman light, I hear an artist who caresses the guitar and just expresses emotions in pure form without exaggerating, without faking.  “The book of love” is as natural as love itself and as comforting and peaceful as feeling the loved one close to you. With the angelic vocalizing sprinkled at times (probably to show the presence of the wife’s spirit), I really feel I’m on a timeless sea shore with the one I love the most in the world, out of time and in our own special sanctuary. This score is, simply put, home. I don’t even hear the separation between cues because, as I said, they are like waves washing over my feet with different intensities, degrees of warmth or speed. I welcome them all and consider myself lucky to be able to experience each of them.

Justin Timberlake can score movies without fear from now on; his debut composition is just wonderful and emotional and shows honesty which is the most supreme form in which an artist can express himself and also the surest way to make me believe in the music. If you enjoy minimalistic reflective music you will adore this score. It was love at first hear for me.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 56 / 56

Album excellence: 100%


One of Those Stories



It’s Just Its Nature

She Likes the Rain

I Designed It


The Shit

That We Matter


I’m Sorry

The Journal

Wink and a Mug

The Detritus

As Dreamers Do

The Munchies

As Dreamers Still Do

It’s a Raft


The Ballad of David Pearlman

Who Was That?

A Phenomena

The Whole World is Crazy

Now We Just Need Some Help

Really Something

Like a Hurricane

She Was…

The People that Left a Mark

The Book of Love (The Shadowboxers)

We’ll Make It

It’s Just Our Story


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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