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Soundtrack review: The big sick (Michael Andrews – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The big sick (Michael Andrews – 2017)

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“The Big Sick” is a 2017 American romantic comedy film directed by Michael Showalter and written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. It stars Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Adeel Akhtar, and Anupam Kher, and follows an interracial couple that has to deal with their cultural differences, loosely based on the real-life romance between Nanjiani and Gordon. Michael Andrews wrote the score. Michael Andrews wrote the score.

The opening cue “Two day rule” is a mellow melody with a soft piano and even softer jazzy percussion that creates a very nice mood, relaxing and sunny. There is even a joyful little piano motif that I am already starting to love, that also appears in a more melancholic version before taking of in a burst of joy at the end of the cue. Michael Andrews introduces a warm main theme that makes me feel quite good about the score. I expected this score to be nice and light because of the way the story was presented so since the composer meets my expectations it’s easier for me to connect with the music. The light guitar motifs, nice and jolly and the constant presence of the piano make for an enjoyable listening experience. I like how the more dramatic moments are treated musically as “Can’t lose my family” keeps the same melodic line but gets a bit sadder and quieter, still with the piano and guitar. There’s nothing heavy or burdening about the music.

Some scores (and the one composer that actually turned me on to scores like this was Rob Simonsen) create a comfortable and relaxing texture that makes the entire listening experience feel like a careless and lazy summer afternoon which is all about feeling good, watching the sun or your children play, without a worry in the world. The light guitar motifs spring like butterflies and I imagine the romance that is described in the score has enough pleasant moments, more so than hardships. There isn’t much variety in the instruments used, only in the tone of the cues, sometimes a bit sadder, other times just optimistic. The piano goes from jolly to elegant to mark the more serious moments and always blends very well with the guitar.

“The big sick” did not shatter my world but left me with a very nice feeling inside at the end; it’s telling when the texture of a score fits so comfortably that even without remarkable standalone themes or memorable cues, it leaves an impression. Michael Andrews wrote a minimalistic and hopeful score that doesn’t try to be more than it’s supposed to and occupies its own little niche.

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 10 / 22

Album excellence: 47%

Highlights:
Two Day Rule
Voicemail From Emily
New Lease On Life
The Big Sickc

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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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