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The Life Before Her Eyes (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Album Review

James Horner's score for director Vadim Perelman's film adaptation of Laura Kasischke's novel The Life Before Her Eyes, starring Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood, is low-key to the point of being minimalist much of the time. A keening voice, sustained strings, synthesizer washes, slow piano notes (played by the composer), and the occasional intrusion of a sort of musical buzz-saw sound (possibly the guitar of George Doering or created by synthesizer) characterize the long cues, which recall Brian Eno's ambient recordings and some especially quiet new age music. In addition to that buzz saw, the music gets loud momentarily during "Diana Gets Hit by a Car," presumably to accompany the moment of impact, and at the start of the final 12-minute track, "Young Diana's Future — A Future That Could Have Been...." Musically, that future doesn't sound much different from the present, except for being played at a bit higher volume. This is a calm but intense score for a film drama with similar qualities.

Customer Reviews

Unexpectedly Subtle, But Unexpectedly Effective

When James Horner's House of Sand and Fog score was released, it was widely thought to be unusually subtle compared with most of Horner's similar work. Yet, this score makes House of Sand and Fog seem explosively dramatic. And, this is most certainly not a bad thing. Though much of film music in the realm of personal drama is becoming more and more restrained these days, it is rarely done with the attention to detail that is necessary for it to be effective. But, James Horner has again and again demonstrated that he understands that, whatever the size of an artist's palette, the same attention to detail is necessary for the end result to be of any worth. Not that a score of a tiny scope is necessarily more effective than one of a grand nature, but The Life Before Her Eyes delivers an experience of a deeply gripping nature that it is only able to because of its artistic quality and limited scope. The only non-synthesized instrument used in this score is the piano, which James Horner actually performs on. And, the most prominent synthesized sounds only include strings and solo female voice. In addition to this limited range of sound types, the volume and tempo are also restrained, as would be expected. The relatively small range of possible sounds that this setup allows is necessary to help embody the deep inward reflection of the film's main character, Diana. Yet, the composer's arrangement of these sounds is what makes this score what it is, obviously. It is unrelentingly sad, but drenched in a faint but still perceptible hope. It is delicate and fragile, yet persistent and haunting. Do not expect any exciting thrills from this score, obviously, but, if you allow yourself to wind down completely, you will hopefully find some thrills of a different nature.


Great movie and great album.

This Soundtrack.

This soundtrack goes beautifully with this movie. Both amazing pieces of art.


Born: August 14, 1953 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Famed for his lush, sweeping scores for films including Braveheart, Apollo 13, and Titanic, the prolific composer James Horner was born in Los Angeles on August 14, 1953. Educated at London's Royal College of Music as well as local universities USC and UCLA, he landed his first motion picture assignments during the 1970s, scoring B-movies like The Lady in Red, Humanoids of the Deep, and Battle Beyond the Stars for producer Roger Corman's New World organization. By 1982, Horner had moved on to major...
Full Bio

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