Her: Scores and Soundscapes

If there is one thing that I enjoy most about watching a film, it’s listening to it’s soundtrack. A score makes or breaks a film because it either draws the audience into the world that the director is creating or it alienates them from what is unfolding before them. In Spike Jonze’s film “Her” the soundtrack succeeds at drawing its viewers into Theodore’s life. What is interesting to note is how the score does not compete with the film for the audience’s attention. In most cases, films have musical themes that are used during certain scenes or when a specific character is onscreen. These themes are often so distinct that anyone has can recognize them even when they’re taken out of the context of the film. With “Her,” the soundtrack doesn’t dominate the film, there are no themes meant for specific characters. It’s as though the music blends into the movie, making it easier for the viewer to become absorbed with Theodore and Samantha’s relationship.

While the soundtrack doesn’t have distinct themes or repetitive sounds, it does follow Theodore’s mood throughout the film. At first, it’s slow-paced and seems to drag along, much like Theodore does because he’s lonely. The tempo increases and the rhythm becomes more lively after he meets Samantha. As Theodore and Samantha’s relationship becomes more complicated, the music turns takes a depressing turn as well. After their relationship ends, the music picks up again with a faster tempo and upbeat rhythms to show that Theodore has nowhere to go but up  now that he’s hit rock bottom. In contrast to most futuristic films, whose scores are meant to leave the audience feeling gloomy and full of despair, the soundtrack in “Her” is full of the emotion that Theodore and Samantha experience throughout their relationship. Instead of sounding depressing and hopeless, the soundtrack sounds alive, like a relationship.

Her: Scores and Soundscapes

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