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Rachel Portman
Scores in Filmtracks'
Top 100 Voting Ranks:
#39.  Only You
#52.  The Cider House Rules
#65.  The Legend of Bagger Vance
(updated daily)

Filmtracks Editor's Recommendations:
The Legend of Bagger Vance
Only You

Born on December 11, 1960, in Haslemere, England, Rachel Portman began using her musical talents at a young age. She started composing on piano at the age of 13, and eventually gained a formal education in composition, orchestration, and classical music at the University of Oxford. Her early career gained her considerable recognition in Great Britain, and she became known as a composer whose priorities rest with character, comedy, and drama.

In 1988, Portman won the British Film Institute's "Young Composer of the Year" award, followed by the Carlton Television Award for "Creative Originality for Women in Film." Her early career was marked by her consistent work for BBC films. She received Best Score nominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for her scores to The Woman In Black and the three-part BBC drama Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. She was honored with a third nomination for her score to Where Angels Fear To Tread. Finally, in 1996, she won the Academy Award in the United States for Emma. Although she chooses not to conduct her own scores, she employs the help of veterans David Snell and J.A.C Redford.

She does not make a big deal out of the fact that she is the first female composer to gain international recognition in the film music community. In 1995, she married motion picture producer Uberto Pasolini, and has two young daughters. She continues her scoring career in England. Although most of her credits have included an association with television productions, she is now primarily focused on feature films. Along with impressive compositions for Only You and Addicted to Love, Portman has composed music for song albums such as The Adventures of Pinocchio and a video sequel of Beauty and the Beast.

Rachel Portman with her Oscar

"Most of the films I've worked on have been independent in nature rather than huge box-office successes. I've really made my career out of doing projects I love."
-- Rachel Portman in 1997

After becoming the first female composer to win an Academy Award (for the 1996 film Emma), Rachel Portman has suddenly received the recognition in America that she has truly deserved. A master of the romantic comedy genre, Portman, a British musician, composes scores that are witty, clever, fully orchestral, and thematically sharp. She composes using only a piano, keeping a distance from the film music industry's move towards the complexity of electronics. Her personality is honest and down-to-earth, and she composes her scores from her home in England.

The lush orchestrations and creative use of strings in Portman's works distinguish her from other romance/comedy score composers of the 1990's. Arguably the best effort in the first decade of her career is Only You, a score with an abundance of whimsical, sweeping themes and irresistible charm. Three years later, Addicted to Love revisited many of these light-hearted, enjoyable cues. The odd score in her career came the same year as Only You; The Road to Wellville was released on an album complete with quotes about defecation. Most importantly, though, the true beauty of Rachel Portman's music is evident through the love of her profession. Because she enjoys her music and scoring career, that joy is reflected in her compositions, making almost every one of her albums an enjoyable listening experience.

 Filmography/Reviews at Filmtracks:  

(see legend below for information on abbreviations and codes)
 Title FRVRVT CTRD TR DatesNotes
The Vow (co-wrote)**2.591311||1,38402/12
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan***3.121611||1,56508/11
Never Let Me Go***2.952602||1,29609/10
Grey Gardens (TV) (AW)***2.941560||1,65607/09
The Duchess***3.213542||1,13410/08
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2***2.831120||1,70309/09
The Lake House***3.041771||1,23202/07
Oliver Twist****3.595123|80111/05
Because of Winn-Dixie***2.232183||85102/05 - 10/11
The Manchurian Candidate**3.194523||45609/04 - 10/11
Mona Lisa Smile***3.163854||51902/04 - 03/09promotional
The Human Stain***3.216233||55110/03 - 03/09
Nicholas Nickleby***3.281,2273|75204/03 - 03/09
The Truth About Charlie (co-wrote)***
Hart's War****3.531,92917||84102/02 - 02/09
The Emperor's New Clothes***
Chocolat (AW)***3.603,06157||16012/00 - 01/09
The Legend of Bagger Vance*****4.093,57221|||22210/00 - 11/07
The Closer You Get***3.001930|76510/00 - 06/08
The Cider House Rules (AW)****4.126,0358||14812/99 - 04/08
The Other Sister
Beloved**2.702454|98612/98 - 01/07
Home Fries
Addicted to Love****3.932,0853||19707/97 - 03/08
Marvin's Room***2.901532|1,21905/03 - 03/09
The Adventures of Pinocchio (co-wrote)***2.971600|1,01406/03 - 03/09
Emma (AW)***3.251960|51709/96 - 04/06
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar
A Pyromaniac's Love Story***
The Road to Wellville***2.874381|||1,10906/03 - 03/09
Only You*****4.162,2911||32809/96 - 02/08
War of the Buttons***3.082135|84507/98 - 08/08
The Joy Luck Club****3.401882||96104/04 - 10/11
Benny & Joon***
Ethan Frome***
Great Moments in Aviation (TV)****
Used People***2.941520|1,30107/98 - 08/08
Mr. Wakefield's Crusade (TV)
Rebecca's Daughters
Elizabeth R (TV)
The Cloning of Joanna May (TV)
Antonia and Jane
Where Angels Fear to Tread
Life Is Sweet**
Flea Bites (TV)
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (TV)
Shoot to Kill (TV)
The Widowmaker (TV)
The Woman in Black (TV)
Monster Maker (TV)
Precious Bane (TV)
Living with Dinosaurs (TV)
Loving Hazel (TV)
Sometime in August (TV)
1914 All Out (TV)
The Falklands War: The Untold Story (TV)
The Short & Curlies (TV)
90 Degrees South
A Little Princess (TV)
Good as Gold (TV)
Four Days in July (TV)
Sharma and Beyond (TV)
Last Day of Summer (TV)
Experience Preferred... But Not Essential
(reviews listed with a "co-wrote" indicate that either the composer wrote the score with another person or that more than one composer worked separately to provide a score for the production)

- indicates a new review that has been published in the last 90 days
- indicates an older review that has been significantly revised in the last 90 days
Awards: AW - indicates that the music won or was nominated for a major award
Ratings: FR - Filmtracks Rating ("Varied" indicates a split rating with no overall designation)
VR - Viewer Rating (overall average)
VT - Vote Total (for viewer ratings)
Comments: Comment Total (the number of messages posted in the review's comment area)
Review Depth: ||||| - Massive Review (over 4,000 words)
|||| - Very Long Review (between 2,200 and 4,000 words)
||| - Long Review (between 1,200 and 2,200 words)
|| - Average Review (between 800 and 1,200 words)
| - Short Review (under 800 words)
Traffic Rank: Popularity Rank (lower numbers indicate more cumulative reads; new reviews take time to climb the ranks)
Dates: 1st - indicates the month and year during which the review was first published
2nd - indicates the month and year of the review's most recent significant revision (if any)

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