By: Patricia Kusumaningtyas |
2018 brought us a lot of great films and great music. But what about moments that join them together? 2018 is also a great year for music-themed films and brought us various great uses of music in movies, starting from musicals, music biopics, to films tied together by its characters’ love of music. Here are six of my favorite music movie moments from 2018.
FIVE: Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings” in Beautiful Boy
In Beautiful Boy, Timothée Chalamet plays Nic Sheff, a teenager with severe drug addiction with a complex relationship with his father David Sheff (Steve Carell). Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings” gave the soundtrack of the basis of this relationship, in a montage showing the father and son singing together to the song in a car drive at a time before Nic plunges into addiction. The scene then cuts into David finding Nic alone and devastated in a dark alley, after trapped inside a cycle of addiction, with the song playing in the car. “Territorial Pissings” bridges the father and son’s common interest in music and gives more emotional weight when their relationship deteriorates.
FOUR: Queen’s Live Aid set in Bohemian Rhapsody
In Bohemian Rhapsody—the biopic centered around Freddie Mercury and Queen—the narrative culminates on Queen’s 1985 Live Aid set. The portrayal of Live Aid itself captures the magic of live music performance, displaying shots of the band taking center stage, the joy of the audience, and the reactions of the people behind the band and those who have personal relationships with the band members. This scene is a perfect climax and bookend to the ambitious biopic. Watch a side-by-side comparison with its real-life counterpart here.
THREE: “Dwa Serduszka” in Cold War
A contender for Best Foreign Language Film in this year’s Oscars, Cold War tells the story of two lovers—Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor (Tomasz Kot)—joined by music and separated by postwar European politics. “Dwa Serduszka” could be the song that joined them throughout years of separation; the song started from being performed as its original Polish folk version with Wiktor as Zula’s music director, and evolved into a jazz arrangement performed by Zula and Wiktor when they meet years later. The song is the musical thesis to the romance the film portrays. Watch the trailer—with the jazz version of the song—here.
TWO: “Shallow” in A Star is Born
“Shallow” is used in two great scenes in A Star is Born. The first one is when aspiring musician Ally (Lady Gaga) sings it on the fly when she first met country musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), and we can see both of their processes in songwriting and how a song is born through that process. In another scene, Jackson Maine sings “Shallow” while Ally joins him onstage—Ally’s breakthrough moment in being discovered as a professional singer. Both of these scenes exemplify the magic of this film. Watch the songwriting scene here.
ONE: Collin’s Freestyle Rap in Blindspotting
Blindspotting’s best movie music moment is also one of the most affecting scenes to come out of this year’s cinema. This odyssey of Oakland centers around Collin (Daveed Diggs) who witnesses the shooting of a black man by a white policeman. When Collin finally meets the policeman face to face and confronts him, he spits out a freestyle rap that embodies all his pent-up emotions. There’s no other medium that could convey Collin’s emotions as effective as this freestyle, and this freestyle won’t work as well when it is put in other contexts; this is why this scene is my favorite movie music moment of the year. Watch the scene here.
(Special mention to the two traditional-model musicals out this year with countless magical movie music moments that I didn’t mention in this article: Mary Poppins Returns and Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again!)