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Expecting by Mark Kilian (Review)

posted Dec 26, 2013, 1:48 PM by Kaya Savas

Expecting stars Michelle Monaghan and Radha Mitchell as two friends; one who gets pregnant after a one-night stand and one who cannot conceive a baby. The two friends agree to follow through with the pregnancy so that Radha Mitchell’s character can raise the baby. The score is from the very terrific Mark Kilian who has been delivering some consistently great work for small films over the years. Expecting continues his streak of wonderfully intimate scores. His ability to craft emotions with precision and really convey the story through score is on full display for this wonderful effort that emits a nurturing warmth.

The music for Expecting is full of acoustic strings, and it takes on a band-like feel in the best way possible. I’m not a huge fan of the term “indie” score, but it’s a good way to describe the sonic approach here. The cheerful vocals of singer and actress Bonnie Piesse can be heard on many of the tracks. There is a playfulness to the vocals that add that youthful spirit to the score. If you need comparison then think Karen O on some of the tracks she wrote for Where The Wild Things Are. Other tracks keep it simple with just a piano or only one guitar. This really makes for an intimate score that truly resonates with the listener. The melodies and motifs keep the music grounded and tangibile. The music is never floaty and plays with a purpose. Musically the score takes us to places of warmth and comfort, but also to places of isolation. There is an emotional arc that really comes through here, and it all holds together despite the short track lengths. At times the score did feel choppy due to the many tracks that were under a minute, but since the score feels small it seemed to work. The music was able to tell everything it needed to say in those short tracks even though sometimes I wanted it to keep going.

Expecting is another terrific score from Mark Kilian. The emotions are there to discover, and the character journey is very apparent through the music’s narrative. The acoustic approach to the sound makes the score feel personal and intimate. The melodies and motifs give the score its life and keep it from being just guitar strumming in the background. The whole package delivers something worth discovering.