Marvin's Room

Marvin's Room

by Rachel Portman



In 1997, Rachel Portman cracked open the old boy's club of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' film scorist division to become the first woman nominated for an original score award since Daniele Amfitheatrof was cited for co-writing the music for Song of the South in 1947. The Academy's general membership was so shocked to have a woman on the ballot that they chose Portman's score for the otherwise overlooked Emma over perennial favorite Alan Menken, making her the first woman to win a scoring prize in 70 years of Oscar history. But had the family drama Marvin's Room made more of an impression on Academy voters, Portman might have received a second nomination that year. Her work on Marvin's Room is certainly deserving of recognition. The score is a piano-based composition that uses Jesse Levy's solo cello and a swirling orchestral arrangement, which create a mysterious upbeat mood that is somewhat surprising for a tearjerker about a woman's battle with cancer. The music seems to suggest a transcendence of the tragedy, hinting at an unseen hand at work for a higher purpose. The score makes for a pleasantly mellow listen, although it can get a bit repetitive. The CD also contains Carly Simon's "Two Little Sisters (Theme from 'Marvin's Room')." The film's Oscar-obsessed studio, Mirimax, undoubtedly hired Simon in the hopes that her efforts would do for Marvin's Room what her Best Song winner "Let the River Run" did for Working Girl in 1988. No such luck. The song has a very pretty chorus, but you only get to hear it if you can stomach the cutesy verses and saccharine lyrics. If you can't, however, just skip the first track. There's plenty to admire in Portman's score.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/14/1997
Label: Hollywood Records
UPC: 0720616210623
catalogNumber: 162106


  1. Two Little Sisters
  2. Main Titles
  3. The Wig
  4. Burning Down the House
  5. Reflections
  6. The Loony Bin
  7. Florida
  8. The Toolbox
  9. I've Been So Lucky
  10. End Title
  11. The Toolbox II
  12. The Beach
  13. Tall Tales
  14. James, Clarence
  15. Someplace Else
  16. Marvin's Room

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rachel Portman   Primary Artist
Carly Simon   Piano,Track Performer
Belinda Whitney-Barratt   Concert Master
Kenneth Bichel   Piano
Jesse Levy   Cello
Meryl Streep   Vocals
Michael Kosarin   Conductor
John Miller   Bass

Technical Credits

Carly Simon   Producer
Vladimir Meller   Contributor
Rachel Portman   Producer,Orchestration
John Richards   Engineer
Jeff Atmajian   Orchestration
Bob Weinstein   Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein   Executive Producer
Scott Greenstein   Executive Producer
Alyson Wellins   Contributor
Robert De Niro   Executive Producer
Scott Rudin   Producer
John Miller   Producer
Gary Chester   Engineer

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