With the release for the upcoming film, Yesterday, a story about how the world forgot the Beatles and one man’s cash grabbing journey to bring back their songs, expected in the summer, I began to think about how music plays a role in our viewing experience. Obviously this isn’t a new thought but just imagine watching Inception without the ominous tones in the background, or watching The Lord of the Rings without the epic orchestras in Middle Earth. There wouldn’t be half as much enjoyment.
While the strings, woodwinds and the bass have a special place in my heart when it comes to cinema, I believe there’s nothing more brilliant than a movie that has a beautiful soundtrack of pop, rock and indie songs. Especially when songs are used at the perfect moment.
The catalogue of Beatle’s songs would be enough for two films and another hour of outtakes. I am interested to see what songs are used where and if indeed the trailer didn’t just show us what songs will be used. I’m sure there’ll be a montage where the main character is having the time of his life and all of the songs are rolled into one long medley. Obviously this will then be followed by some crushing revelation from a loved one or a stranger and he will have to rethink his new career choice. Does he go for the money or the love? Oh yeah, it’s in the feckin’ trailer. Predictable? Yes. Will I watch it? Of course. Are you going to get a list of movies with great songs at the right moment right now? Yes.
Me Before You (2016)
Anyone who knows me knows I’m more than a sucker for a romcom; I actively go searching for them and wallow in misery afterwards at how alone I am… wow, got deep very quickly. What am I even doing with my life? Lol jk, that’s a whole other post. Anyways, this particular book turned film tells the story of Lou, a happy young woman with no real direction in life or money, but she has her family and a boyfriend, even if they do drive her up the wall. Enter Will, the posh, rich local boy who lost the power of his body from the chest down after an traffic accident. He has become a negative recluse and Lou becomes his endlessly positive personal carer. Cue fights, snarky remarks-cum-flirting and obviously romance. As Lou travels to Switzerland to see Will for possibly the last time she looks out the plane window and Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph” starts to play. I can’t find the exact footage but if you saw the film then you know how gutwrenching the choice of music is and how much you want to cry when seeing it for the first time. But I did not cry for I am man, and man does not cry. We hunt and drink for we are men*.
About Time (2013)
What a movie. What a concept. What amazing performances from Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy and Rachel McAdams. What a fantastic use of the song, “How Long Will I Love You”, originally penned by the Waterboys in 1989 and covered in this film by Sam Sweeney, Ben Coleman and Jon Boden. The song plays as a montage of Tim and Mary shows their blossoming romance. Of course, the film has much more poignant moments and delves into the question of time travel and its moral consequences, which is prevalent in any romance! Shout out to Keli for reminding me of this scene and inspiring this post. Go on Kel.
A bit of a break from my romcom filled life but the inclusion of this song at the very end of this masterpiece was a sublime piece of filmmaking, editing and songwriting. “Now We Are Free” begins to play right after the climactic fight scene between Maximus and Commodus. He lies there, dead, his prisoners freed and this absolute tune plays as Marcus Aurelius’ foresight that Maximus would be a far better leader than his own son Commodus rings true. He was a soldier of Rome and if he were around today, would have been a banging DJ.
Eighth Grade (2018)
I’ve written about Bo Burnham’s directorial debut already. It will undoubtedly be a contender for film of the decade, not just because of the director’s vision and script but because of the performance of lead actress, Elsie Fisher.
“Orinocco Flow”, one of Enya’s many instantly recognisable songs, has been used in countless films and is a part of numerous people’s Spotify’s Most Played of 2018 soundtracks. It is used flawlessly in this film. Kayla (Fisher) is scrolling through Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram before bed, watching a host of different videos and taking quizzes to find out what imaginary character she would be in a different life. The whole time her face remains expressionless, not registering one piece of emotion, even when one of the mean girls in school who she so desperately wants to be friends with invites her to her pool party. The scene is a perfect contrast to the song, so full of emotion and longing while Kayla longs to be a part of the mainstream and the cool kids.
Sex Education (2019)
OK, not a movie but one of the brilliant Netflix originals that has come out recently. Normally, I wouldn’t click on a new Netflix release for a couple of weeks, or even months. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a bit of a snob with tv and don’t want to be a sheep and watch something that everyone else is watching. Maybe it is because I get quickly bored with tv nowadays and didn’t want to have it sitting in my ‘Continue Watching’ if I wasn’t going to finish it. In reality it is due to the fact that I will continue to watch Friends, The Office and Parks and Rec while leaving new shows pass me by. However, this show drew me in straight away. Probably because the letters ‘S’, ‘E’, and ‘X’, were emblazoned across my screen and I am a young male.
The show is funny, topical and fantastic. It introduces some new faces that will be on our screens for years to come and Gillian Anderson of ‘X-Files’ and ‘The Fall’ fame plays a sex therapist. Do with that what you will, guys and gals. The scene below is funny in the context of the show but also it reintroduces you to an absolute banger. Skip to 1:05 for the song.
List done. Watch now. Share please. Validate me.