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Newman Isn't Doing Anything Bold Here, But It Doesn't Mean It Isn't Special,
This review is from: The Help (Audio CD)
Thomas Newman hasn't really had a great benchmark score in quite some time. For The Help I wasn't expecting him to pull out all the stops and give us another score to sit with The Road To Perdition and The Shawshank Redemption. While it won't be remembered for being an iconic Thomas Newman score, it will strike a resonating chord with the listener. Newman's trademark strings open the first track and I immediately got a chill. The score is peppered with his piano accents that truly make it a Thomas Newman score. As a story the music is extremely well structured with some nice motifs.
Newman eases us into the serious subject matter of the story by starting things off light. In some cases you may think he's getting a little too saccharine, but then again the film is sugarcoated for mass appeal. The second half of the score is where it truly shines. The music has a deep resonating presence that gently carries you to a compassionate state. The true emotion of the film finally finds room to poke out and then this music truly becomes something spectacular. Newman hits all the right beats with the score's ups and downs. There is such a strong sense of human spirit in the score that you can't help but be moved by it. To add a little atmosphere and setting Newman incorporates a little guitar now and then to echo the southern setting of the film. In the end the score brings everything to a gentle and subtle conclusion.
The Help reminded me a lot of The Shawshank Redemption because of how Newman made audiences sympathize with the characters. His music is a pure echo of human emotion and that is true for his score for The Help. It's a beautiful score. It may go unnoticed and while Newman isn't doing anything bold here, but it doesn't mean it isn't special.