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The Day I Saw Your Heart by Nathan Johnson (Review)

posted Oct 16, 2012, 10:26 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Oct 18, 2012, 10:51 AM ]

Nathan Johnson has scored only for his cousin's features until this film. So what would this immense and relatively new talent bring to a deep French dramedy centered on a daughter and her father? Well, it seems like a lot actually. This is a fantastic score with so much character and subtle emotions that you are instantly hooked from the first few seconds. Nathan Johnson is able to accomplish so much with so little here and the music pops right out with a grounding theme and rich substance. 

I was immediately reminded of his score to The Brothers Bloom, which I love a lot. Here we get a modern sounding score that has a contemporary feel achieved mostly through the instrumentation. It has a jazzy blues feel that gives the music a very identifiable style. Johnson sets up the characters and then takes us on their journeys. There isn't anything fancy about the score or its approach, but I found myself very affected by the motifs and melodies. The melodies make the score come alive and the central theme is just perfect. His choice of different instrumentation throughout will immediately embody a different human emotion but revert back to that great theme. The music can be plucking on some strings, accents on a saxophone, a groovy keyboard or a classic piano. Johnson brings in the strings when the music needs to hit deep and shed the quirk it naturally has. The end of the score is very emotional and since you've grown with these characters emotionally up to the end I found myself shedding a few tears.

Nathan Johnson is able to craft deep character and quiet emotions that reach out and touch the listener. The score is such a tremendous effort that I found myself in tears by the time the final tracks came on. The central theme is so strong and so essential as the backbone of the score. This is the true working of a great composer; telling a story with hardly any effort at all. The music accents the narrative so beautifully and can still come off as playful and quirky. It establishes its identity right off the bat and keeps you invested until its over. It's small scores like this that truly have the magic of what film music is all about.