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Soundtrack review: Midnight sun (Nathaniel Walcott – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Midnight sun (Nathaniel Walcott – 2018)

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“Midnight Sun” is a romantic tearjerker about 17-year-old Katie Price (Bella Thorne), sheltered at home since childhood with a rare genetic condition, a life-threatening sensitivity to sunlight. Having only her father Jack (Rob Riggle) for company, Katie’s world opens up after dark when she ventures outside to play her guitar. One night, her dreams come true when she’s noticed and asked out by her longtime crush Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger), whom she’s secretly watched from her bedroom window for years. As they embark on nightly summer excursions, Katie’s risk to sunlight grows and she’s presented with the gut-wrenching dilemma of whether she can live a normal life with her newfound soul mate. Nathaniel Walcott wrote the score.

I can’t help but notice that Katie’s character mirrors a vampire as her dilemma about a normal life in the light makes me think of shows like Buffy and Angel. This is just a personal side note. Also, Arnie’s son is already an actor in his own right so I realise how old I got. The score opens with a whimsical, lullaby like cue “Katie’s house” and it’s one of those pieces that get me in just a few seconds; I love quiet ambient music and this opening cue with it’s melodic, chiming texture and the soft guitar is just what the doctor ordered. The melody makes me think of a fairy tale, a fantasy.

Scores like this one, minimalistic and dreamy, are rare these days. I don’t think there’s more than 10 every year but every time I run into one, I am hypnotised and taken to a peaceful sanctuary were as far as my eyes can see there’s an eternal summer afternoon where the sun is gleaming and reflecting from the surface of the calm sea. The music chimes every now and then, joyfully, and induces a care free sensation. Even of the story says the main character plays the guitar the focus of the score is not on this particular instrument. The guitar, mostly electric, is just another part of that reflecting light.

“Midnight sun” is a minimalistic and positive composition that simply puts me in a good mood; with the few tools at his disposal the composer creates a lonely but optimistic vibe and I could just sit on a lawn chair and relax listening to his electric guitar musings all day long. The music is soft and soothing, comfortable and unintrusive and one of those perfect compositions to listen to on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. I need scores like these and I just welcome any composer who gets the chance to write them.

Cue rating: 97 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 15 / 18

Album excellence: 84%

Highlights:
10 Katie’s House
11 Mom’s Guitar
13 Facts
14 Beef Chili Party
15 Boat Dock Talk
16 Sailing Sounds Perfect
17 Wanna Go Out On A Real Date-
18 I’m Not Swimming
19 Skinny Dip Kiss
21 Triggering Event
22 That Would Be Fine

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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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