8 Calming Film Scores To Soothe Your Anxious Pandemic Brain
Cinematic music to help you relax and wind down
When it comes to calming down my anxious brain on overdrive, there’s nothing quite like a solid, reliable film score to relax and wind down to. Film scores, like soundtracks, elevate the scene and transport audiences back to the movie’s milieu—evident in iconic scores like John Williams’ work on Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Jurassic Park, and more.
This time, we’ve rounded up 8 calming film scores to soothe your mind and help you wind down after a long day at work.
Far From Heaven
With music by Elmer Bernstein, Far From Heaven’s score highlights the film’s quiet devastation, revolving around Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore)’s crumbling marriage and growing friendship with her gardener, Raymond Deagan in 1950s Connecticut. The music is tender when it needs to be and overwhelming and large when the moment calls for it.
Saving Mr. Banks
2013’s Saving Mr. Banks features music by Thomas Newman, which hoped to reflect the “basic joy in the kind of writing that the Sherman Brothers brought to Mary Poppins,” since the film centers on the story of Mary Poppins’ author, P.L. Travers. The score is a bit more upbeat than most films of this vibe, evident the most in my favorite track, “Travers Goff.”
The Princess Diaries
Aside from a killer soundtrack, The Princess Diaries also has an equally iconic score, composed by John Debney. Simply hearing the musical movement in the score’s main title makes me feel like I’m in the Genovian embassy in San Francisco, waltzing in a ballroom that also has Julie Andrews in it.
Carter Burwell’s score work for the 2015 film Carol is my personal go-to when I’m feeling antsy or restless. It’s an exhilarating and gorgeous listen, especially when you go technical: the main musical themes in the score “communicate visual language,” writes Burwell, with the opening score becoming the two women’s love theme. Throughout the score, three instruments are heard most notably: piano, clarinet, and vibe—pointing to Carol as a “cool, aloof mystery.”
Michael Giacchino’s work on Up remains to be one of the most iconic pieces of music in any Disney property. “Married Life,” the music that plays during the montage with Ellie and Carl, has garnered 55 million listens on Spotify, and counting. It’s joyous, tender, simple, with ups and downs: just like the life the two had shared together.
In the film score for The Hours, there is a certain fragility to it, as though something breakable will shatter if the music becomes too loud, reminiscent of the film itself, which is based on the novel of the same name by Michael Cunningham. The Hours tells the story of three women from three different eras, all interconnected by Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel, Mrs. Dalloway.
Whether you prefer the 1994 Little Women or Greta Gerwig’s recent work, there’s no denying that both films contain gorgeous music, composed by Thomas Newman and Alexandre Desplat, respectively. Both scores fit the film they’re found in: sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, but mostly warm, tender, and loving. The music feels like a warm hug, and isn’t that what Little Women reminds us of?
Jonny Greenwood’s work on Phantom Thread harkens back to the musical trends of the 1950s, and each track is a gorgeous, romantic piece of art, evoking the kind of feel and vibe that Phantom Thread itself is.
Lead photo from IMdB