Music Break: Five great songs/theme from Richard Curtis’ films

AboutTimePosterI haven’t done a Music Break post in a while but today I might as well hit two birds with one stone to highlight Richard Curtis. Today the British writer/director turns 57 and his time-travel rom-com About Time starring Domhnall Gleeson & Rachel McAdams opens today in the US as well, so I thought why not highlight some of the music from his films.

You could say Mr. Curtis is the King of British Rom-Com, he’s also the man behind great comedic shows like Blackadder and The Vicars of Dibley (my personal fave). He often works with Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) and Hugh Grant, in fact, all of the films I highlighted here have Grant in them! His films are quintessentially British, filled with wacky British humor and cultural references which I really enjoy, but another thing I love about his movies are the great soundtracks.

Here are five from some of my favorite movies written/produced by Richard Curtis:

She – Notting Hill

I’ve never even heard of Elvis Costello’s music before this one but I LOVE, LOVE this song and I like how it plays in the beginning to sort of introduce Julia Roberts’ movie star character. It has such sweet, melancholic melody that

Ain’t No Sunshine When She Goes Away
– Notting Hill

The song choice is just perfect for this scene, it’s as if R&B star Bill Withers knew exactly what broken-hearted William (Hugh Grant) is thinking at this moment as he goes through each season missing his sweetheart Anna. I’m not a huge fan of Hugh Grant generally but too is perfect for this role.

Love is All Around – Four Weddings & A Funeral

I remember playing this song over and over when this film first came out. The song was originally recorded by The Troggs but in this soundtrack it was performed by Scottish band Wet Wet Wet. Apparently it was so popular it remained at number 1 in the British charts for fifteen weeks and was then the ninth biggest selling single of all time in Britain (per Wikipedia). Playful and romantic, just like the movie!

PM Love Theme – Love, Actually

There are a lot of great themes in this film, I also love the Glasgow Theme but this one has such a swooning quality about it but not in an overly sappy way. It has such a rousing and ‘stately’ feel about it too that fits the fact that Hugh Grant’s character is a British state leader.

Have You Met Miss Jones? – Bridget Jones’ Diary

I initially didn’t realize that this song’s part of Bridget Jones’ Diary. I LOVE it, it’s so my kind of music as I was just telling Michael and Jack in this awesome music post. I had no clue that swing jazz is Robbie Williams’ genre, I thought he’s more of a pop star. Originally sung by Sinatra, of course it’s tough to beat the real deal, but still, it’s a lovely song that I can listen to over and over.

Hope you enjoyed the Music Break. Which Richard Curtis’ movie(s) are your favorites?

16 thoughts on “Music Break: Five great songs/theme from Richard Curtis’ films

  1. I love that Curtis had Love is All Around in Four Weddings and then spun it again in Love Actually as Christmas is All Around. Great list, Ruth. The only one I’d add is How Long Must I Love You from About Time. It’s a great song played the best moment in the film. Here’s the song-

    1. Hi Nick! I know, what a genius isn’t it to recycle the song in that way. Love both of them, the song and the movies!

      Haven’t seen About Time yet but that is a lovely song indeed, thanks for letting me know.

        1. Oh really? Cool! I think Curtis made the best rom-com, it’s just not as banal or hackneyed as a lot of US rom-coms here. I’m intrigued by the time travel aspect too, nice to see Domhnall Gleeson getting more roles. He takes it after his dad, naturally!

  2. I love Elvis Costello’s “She” and everything else in Notting Hill which I think is Richard Curtis’ best work. I like the music in The Boat the Rocked as I’m a fan of that music.

    1. Hi Steven! I rewatched parts of Notting Hill last Friday and y’know I think it could be his best work. Nice to see a romantic story that’s also hilarious but warm-hearted.

  3. Love it when I see a post dedicated to the music in a film. Sometimes it seems that is so overlooked and it is such a powerful part of any film. Thanks for this post, Ruth. Loved the “ain’t no sunshine” inclusion. 🙂

    1. Hi T! Thanks for the lovely comment, glad you appreciate these music break post. I’m not always consistent when I post ’em, but I so agree the power of music on film!

  4. Now that you brought it up, I just realized that I loved the songs in his movies. They can relate and heartwarming. I also enjoy About Time’s soundtrack, I’d like to feature it in my soundtrack pick. Nice post! Love the songs. The man have excellent movies.

    1. Hi Andina! Yeah, Curtis has the ear for great music for his films. I think you should post about About Time’s soundtrack, I listened to one of the songs and it’s a good one indeed.

  5. Good idea for a post, Ruth. Curtis definitely has a knack for what music to use. I really like that he took “Love Is All Around” from “Four Weddings” and then re-implemented it in “Love Actually” with that purposely ridiculous Billy Mac cover. That’s a pretty impressive cover.

    For me though, it’s all about Hugh Grant dancing to “Jump.” Not that I’ve re-enacted that moment myself on multiple occasions.

    1. Hi Nick! Always thrilled to see you stop by. Yeah that’s quite an inventive use of music there w/ Love is All Around but the Christmas version. I like the Hugh Grant dancing in Love Actually too, that’s a hoot! The romance between the PM and his assistant is endearingly cute as well.

  6. Great post! I love Richard Curtis’ movies, and Love Actually is my favorite. The PM Love Theme is so great. It’s the reason I give that film Best Original Score. 😀

  7. Pingback: Review: About Time | The Focused Filmographer

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