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Soundtrack review: Nostalgia (Laurent Eyquem – 2018)

Best of 2018 Film scores perfect scores

Soundtrack review: Nostalgia (Laurent Eyquem – 2018)



“Nostalgia” is an American drama film directed by Mark Pellington and written by Pellington and Alex Ross Perry. It stars Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Amber Tamblyn, Patton Oswalt, Catherine Keener, Ellen Burstyn, Bruce Dern, John Ortiz, and James LeGros. A mosaic of stories about love and loss, ‘Nostalgia’ explores our relationships to the objects, artifacts, and memories that shape our lives. Laurent Eyquem wrote the score.

Well this is probably a movie I will watch since nostalgia is one of the emotions that drives me the most, and it’s no different with film music which I always love more if there’s a touch of nostalgia, be it for the sound, movie itself or period in my life. When I heard Laurent Eyquem was attached to this project I was happy because whatever music I’ve heard from him has left a mark. The opening theme of “Nostalgia” though take this to a whole other level; the emotional impact of one of the most beautiful piano motifs I have ever heard is hard to express in words. When the melancholic trumpet joins in for a different shade of the same emotion and when there’s also a subtle sting of a violin in the background I discover a rare complex emotional composition that touches me on more levels; usually composers go for one sound, one instrument to tug at the emotional resorts of the listener but Laurent Eyquem goes for the honest route and pours into music what he himself must be feeling and this makes the music feel natural, relatable, and not exaggerated or embellished in any way. His own personal story is that of someone who unfortunately was no stranger to pain, to tragedy and all these terrible losses left a mark that constantly gives his music a special touch, a special kind of shadow that can only come from someone who can face his own emotions and express them through art.

For me, nostalgia is one of the very few emotions that can’t be stopped or fought; whether is for a particular genre of music, for childhood, for the moment I met the one I love, for a concert or for one single particular moment in my life, when a resort is touched that brings that back there is no escape and no defence. The only way to deal with it is to let it wash over me, bask in the object, song or memory until it passes. This particular emotion is touching even when it’s not deafening, overwhelming, and this is what makes it special: it moves the soul no matter what the dose. Laurent Eyquem understands that and as I listen to his tender, beautiful music that walks slowly on the edge between sadness and melancholy without ever falling over, I discover a score that speaks in a universal language that can touch and melt any kind of soul. This music, the musings of the cello, of the piano, the quiet tone that speaks so incredibly much, the layers of emotion that come over each other slowly, softly, this entire magnificent composition makes me feel as if I got a unique opportunity to make this emotion, this nostalgia, corporeal for a few minutes and watch it move, dance, look, sigh, like a lonely ballerina moving lonely and eternally inside a snow globe that can never be broken.

Like the emotion it describes, the music of “Nostalgia” will live forever. In a film music world that is dominated nowadays by cold and impersonal, it is a privilege and a gift to be able to hear a composition as beautiful and moving as this one. An ode to loss and emptiness and to the love that feels these voids, “Nostalgia” is a perfect score if I ever heard one and regardless of what kind of music you like or what kind of person you are, listening to it will make your life better and will make you want to hug your loved ones tightly. There’s no higher compliment I can pay a musical composition than that my eyes were misty for the duration.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 31 / 31

Album excellence: 100%

Opening Theme
A Life In Pictures
The Granddaughter
Lives Lived
The Decision
Ready To Say Goodbye
An Empty Life
The Letters
The Absence
Moving On

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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