Do you remember the days of good music in movies? Days when songs enhanced the scene?
Flashback! It’s 1998 You’ve Got Mail is on TV, you’re probably thinking why this movie? It’s a sappy Romance Comedy. Well before you write it off your list of great films, picture Meg Ryan (maybe that disturbs you) however picture her anyway. But let’s continue with the plot of the movie. Meg Ryan sits patiently waiting for her computer to load to see if she’s received mail from her admirer. You guessed right she’s ,“Got mail.” Thus she leaves her apartment in a bubbly mood and as she walks out of her brownstone in New York city, the camera shifts to capture the perfect Fall day… now…cue The Cranberries’, ‘Dreams‘, which becomes a melodic symbol of Meg’s giddy, emotional state. The song continues to play throughout this scene as the camera captures New York City’s landscape, crowds with shuffling feet and Meg Ryan’s upbeat smile.
Why is the director’s music choice a concern? Aren’t we always in search of meaning, correlation or expression? So why not. A better question to ask yourself, why does the director use The Cranberries, an Irish Rock alternative band, in the opening scene of a Romance comedy? Well, for one thing lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan‘s echanting vocals compliment the fall scenery and lyrics symbolize Meg Ryan’s mood. Lyrics like, “I know I’ve felt like this before, but now I’m feeling it even more, because it came from you. And then I open up and see the person falling here is me, A different way to be,” illustrate the sometimes complicated process of love. And the audience is given the opportunity to be a part of what transpires.
(quick refresher, the age of online chatting, instant communication and emailing has just been discovered.) So Meg Ryan’s enthusiasm is relative. The days of waiting for dial up and slow modems to connect you to the internet are ever present. But, maybe the process of online dating and social media is all too familar, since most of us have been there. Nights spent waiting for “Mr. smiley” to be online or sending love letters over the airwaves to secret admirers, wondering if the idea was a bright one in first place, and secondly whether or not it will reach his/her inbox or spam folder (just press “resend”).
The rest of the movie may or may not persuade you, depending on your taste in movies, but the opening is rather refreshing, believable and organic. The type of authenticity that seems fleeting in today’s use of musical inference/reference in film with the exception of Indie and Foreign films.
Trailer: You’ve Got Mail
Stream: The Cranberries – Dreams