Musical Score By: Mark Kilian

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the comedy Expecting, Radha Mitchell is Lizzie, a woman who has all but given up on having a child after years of struggling to conceive with her husband Peter (John Dore).  When Lizzie's best friend Andie (Michelle Monaghan) finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy after a one night stand, she decides to offer Lizzie the opportunity to adopt her child.  Lizzie agrees with one exception - Andie must live with Lizzie and Peter throughout the pregnancy.  But will their friendship survive the birth?

                The musical score of Expecting was created by South African composer Mark Kilian.  After a successful career as a pianist, Kilian came to America to pursue a career in film scoring.  Since then, he has amassed quite an impressive résumé of work, including the musical scores of Tsotsi, Jake in Progress, Day Break, Before the Rains, La Mission, Castle, American Flyer, Bless Me, Ultima, Pitch Perfect, Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day, The Least Among You, 41, Killer Women and more.

                The musical score of Expecting is mainly guitars with some classical piano (found in tracks like Piercing and Has Anyone Seen My Testicles), light percussion and violin.  The score begins with a feeling of awe, expectation, excitement and overall sense of innocent happiness.  The one song track on the album, Down in the Valley (with vocals by Bonnie Piesse), is a lullaby performed with that same sense of awe and childlike innocence. 

                The style of the score is best explained in Mark Kilian's own words: "In my initial discussions with director Jessie McCormack and producer/editor Kathryn Himoff.  We decided that what this movie needed was a simple and intimate warmth. Childlike in a way... I packed my car full with guitars, ukeleles and other weird and wonderful string instruments and drove down to my house in Mexico where I wrote all the main themes and ideas over the course of a few weeks. Back in Los Angeles I recorded and produced the score with the help of some fantastic musicians and the wonderful Bonnie Piesse on vocals.  I also had my friend and amazing pianist Paul Hepker help arrange and play the Bach like pieces which are based on my main melodies in the score."

                As the strain on the friendship increases, coupled with the possibility that Peter may not actually want children, the mood of the music becomes less bubbly, more serious.  But these tracks are mixed throughout the actual album.  That's the strangest thing about the Expecting Soundtrack - the arrangement.  Instead of placing the tracks of score in the order in which they appear in the film, they are mixed.  For example, She Wants to Give Us Her Baby, a track created for an event that takes place much earlier in the film, appears as the last track on the album.  It's Coming and I Miss My Friend are somewhere in the middle of the album when we know these events must take place later in the film.

                Despite the weird arrangement, there is no denying Mark Kilian's talent when it comes to created a musical score for a film.  I have always enjoyed his work and his scoring of Expecting is no exception, brilliantly expressing all of the emotions that go along with the eminent birth of a child - the happiness, excitement, joy, fear and all of the emotions in between.  As a stand alone album, the music on Expecting is actually very soothing, what with its acoustic strings base and occasional classical piano.  Another great presentation by Mark Kilian.


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