To the Wonder

Composed By: Hanan Townshend

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the romantic drama To the Wonder, Ben Affleck stars as Neil, a man who meets and falls in love with Ukrainian divorcée and single mother Marina (Olga Kurylenko) in Paris, France.  Deciding on making a life together, Neil takes Marina and her daughter back home with him to Oklahoma.  Unfortunately, their love begins to wane and Marina's daughter begins to become homesick.  She returns to France as soon as her visa expires.  While alone in Oklahoma, Neil reconnects with old flame Jane (Rachel McAdams).  Will he find new love with Jane, or will Neil realize what he has lost in Marina?

                The musical score of To the Wonder was created by New Zealand composer Hanan Townshend, whose love of music began with piano lessons at the age of six.  As a young adult, he began writing and performing music in bands before pursuing a degree in composition and music studies, finding the relationship between music and visual art fascinating.  He began composing for short films and documentaries.  To the Wonder represents Townshend's first musical score for a full feature film.

                I listened to the To the Wonder Soundtrack before I learned what the film was about.  I immediately thought that the orchestral themes of the film represented a movie that was a period piece.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  The music is all about love in all of its forms.  According to Townshend, "We spent some time experimenting with different musical ideas capturing this flurry-of-love, not just the type of love that can exist between two people, but also a deeper, spiritual love. The result was a piece called ‘Awareness’, which is a representation of just this.”  Awareness is a cacophony of musical sound that becomes louder and clearer as the main characters' love becomes more defined.  I liked this track and felt the title to be quite appropriate. 

                However, it was tracks like Peril which, at seven minutes in length, felt unnecessarily long and drawn out.  Parcival was another track that seemed to be out of whack, featuring a number of movements seemingly pieced together to create a single track.

                In my opinion, the tracks containing Marina's Theme as well as those containing the elements of Awareness are the best on the album.  The rest are not all that interesting and cause the soundtrack to drag and the listener to become disinterested.  The soundtrack as a whole may work well with the visuals of the movie, but as a stand alone album, I'm not sure the price tag is worth the purchase.


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