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The Age of Adaline
  • Composed by Rob Simonsen
  • Lakeshore Records / 2015 / 58m

After suffering a car accident at the age of 29, Adaline Bowman’s life changes.  But her age doesn’t.  She’s stuck at 29 forever.  People come and go; she stays.  Providing the score is one of the most promising film music talents to have emerged in recent years, Rob Simonsen, and The Age of Adaline is another very impressive piece of work.  It’s a big score, surprisingly so, and – less surprisingly – a beautiful one.  A couple of main themes weave their way through its fabric, my favourite being the one introduced in the second track, “At Home”; wearing its heart on its sleeve, it’s quite refreshing to hear a piece of film music unafraid of being so overtly emotionally manipulative, with its unsubtle tugging at the heartstrings including a heavenly female choir.  I know it’s anathema to some (and if you’re part of the “some”, don’t get this) but it used to be the norm and I don’t really understand why so many filmmakers have become afraid of it.

While the whole score isn’t like that (it couldn’t be), there is certainly a sense of grandeur and importance provided by the music throughout.  In relative film music terms, it’s quite similar to some of James Newton Howard’s music for M. Night Shyamalan, maybe a hint of Thomas Newman – which is no bad thing.  There are some more lighthearted moments (“Ellis Brings Flowers” is delightful), some more hard-hitting (“Never Speak a Word of Her Fate”), some much gentler and subtler (“Constellations” with its ambient, new age influence is so beautifully done), some quite hauntingly sad (“A Near Miss”), some triumphantly happy (none more so than the finale “To a Future With an End”) and these come together to provide a very well-rounded listening experience.  It’s very melodic and there are those strong themes, but the overriding sense is that the music is floating – a constant companion through this journey the character takes.  It’s a very strong piece of work.

Rating: **** | |

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  1. tiago (Reply) on Monday 23 November, 2015 at 01:04

    Simonsen was Mychael Danna’s protegée, right? That’s why his music here sounds similar to his “master”‘s scores, specially The Time Traveler’s Wife and parts of Life of Pi, which means that it can be really depressing sometimes. I wonder if Danna is the equivalent of Adele on the film music world.

    But a highly impressionant score by Simonsen, though.