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THE LAKE HOUSE
Typical stuff from Portman, but it's one of her best
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2006 Lakeshore Records; review copyright (c) 2006 James Southall
One of the year's surprise box office successes, The Lake House is a daft film about two people who live in the same house, but at different times, and they fall in love with each other by sending magic letters. (Is it a true story?) It stars Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. I imagine there's a certain demographic which loved the film, and I don't imagine that demographic would include me or indeed people like me. If there are any people like me.
It must have been a real challenge for Rachel Portman, but in a desperate bid to avoid typecasting, she somehow became involved in a most unusual genre for her - the romantic drama. She must have lay awake at night wondering how on earth she was going to be able to write a score for a film like this, so different from everything else she's done. In the event, her music is highly surprising - bouncy strings, lilting guitar solos, pleasant winds. Who'da thought it? It goes without saying that this score is exactly the same as 99,443,710 other ones by Rachel Portman. The only differences between them come in vary slight variations on the same shades, and this one is perhaps towards the top of the pack. The main theme is not one of her more memorable creations (bizarrely, in a rare twist for Portman, it doesn't actually sound like Jerry Goldsmith's Rudy) but there is a slightly more serious tone (ironically, given the ludicrous film) than is the norm.
Grumpy old fart I might be, but I can't help but be taken in by the whole experience - the general feel of the score is ultra-familiar, but the themes are new, and the way Portman adds just a hint of the supernatural to some selections is note-perfect. The floaty atmosphere of "Alex's Father" is stunningly beautiful; there's a glorious sense of colour about "Il Mare", a beautifully-wrought tribute to the beauty of the sea; and "She's Gone" might be very brief, but it's got a cello solo in there which will tug at the hardest of hearts. When Portman is at her best - as here - it is very easy to forgive the continued sense of deja vu - indeed, perhaps even to forget it. This is melodic, easy-going film music which adds a genuine sense of class to the film and will appeal to any fan of Portman. It's probably her best score since 2000's Chocolat.