Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Home is Always, Always the Answer

           There are few movies in this world that I enjoy more than 13 Going on 30. This movie takes viewers on a journey through the life of a pre-teen geek whose wish to become an adult comes true. Though the main character, Jennifer Gardner, gets to finally experience what it is like to be an adult, she eventually realizes that adulthood may not be exactly as she had imagined. As an avid movie-watcher, I have always found pleasure in analyzing the way that producers combine the elements of narrative, visual, and audio. When I re-watched this movie, it became clear that the music played a large role in the persuasive quality of the film. The soundtrack in this movie is very successful because it sets the mood and utilizes the appeals of pathos, ethos and logos.

          When I analyzed the use of sound within this movie, I found one scene in which the music really caught my attention. Towards the second half of the movie, the song "Vienna" by Billy Joel begins to play in the background. This song appears in a very pivotal scene in the movie. Before the introduction of the song, Jennifer Gardner gets fired from her job and breaks up with her famous,
hunky fiancé. She decides to travel home to be with her family in order to get some comfort and search for clarity. When she gets onto the train, this song comes on and immediately sets the tone for the upcoming scene. The slow-paced, somber Billy Joel song lets viewers know that the scene is rather dramatic and serious. The facial expression of Jennifer Gardner looking at the gloomy weather opens viewers' eyes and creates feelings of empathy and concern.

The addition of "Vienna" into the movie also strengthens the element of pathos. As viewers reflect on the audio and visual aspects, they get insight into what the character is feeling. In the book “Everything’s an Argument,” Lunsford states, “A more obvious way to build an emotional tie is simply to help readers identify with your experiences.” The tune in the background enhances viewers’ connection to the main character as she experiences hardship. Viewers may feel emotional as they remember a time in which they found solace arriving back home after awhile away.

In addition to the soundtrack’s ability to strengthen the pathos within the movie, the song "Vienna" also added to the ethos. Billy Joel is a successful singer-songwriter who was very famous during the time this movie was released. The producers made a smart decision when featuring one of his songs in the movie because it served as both branding and advertising for the film. It’s near impossible for me to hear the song "Vienna" without thinking of this tear-jerking scene in the movie.

The lyrics within the song play a large role in creating the scene and adding to the logos appeal. The song "Vienna" tells a story about a boy who returns home and realizes that he needs to let go of the pressure he has on himself. The lyrics state, “Slow down, you crazy child, and take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile.” These lyrics correlate perfectly with the movie and reiterate the idea that home is a perfect place to meditate and find comfort. 

Overall, I believe that this song was successfully incorporated into the movie. The song is very memorable and deserves a high rating; so I am giving this song choice a whopping 5/5 nachos. This part of the movie absolutely gave me “the feels” and drew me closer to my connection with the character. The slow rhythm and meaningful lyrics within "Vienna" provoked my emotions and put me into a reflective, somber mood (which I believe is exactly what the producers wanted)! I know that if I’m ever feeling nostalgic or homesick I can cook some popcorn, grab some tissues and insert this movie into the DVD player! Jennifer Gardner brought me to tears within this scene and she made me realize that when things get tough, home is always, always the answer.

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