Film Music Magazine Names The Lovers as one of the Best Scores of 2017

(Mandy Hoffman / Milan Records)

Azazel Jacobs’ witty, French-styled movie about a roundelay of cheaters is about as low key and indie as you can get, which is all the more reason to grace it with an impossibly romantic orchestral score by Mandy Hoffman. Certainly knowing something about falling head over heels with her work on Amazon’s “I Love Dick,” Hoffman channels the string-swooning, harp glistening ghosts of such incurably romantic melodists as Georges Delerue and Nino Rota for a thematically lovely score that’s as big as the movie is small, in all the right ways. Rarely have American scores of this type captured the starry-eyed, waltzing magic of blissful attraction, the score practically singing with unbridled passion. It’s an ironic counterpoint that also enriches the comedy of characters that’d seemingly rather not speak at all. And when the almost perfect affairs begin to collapse, Hoffman’s impossibly lush approach isn’t afraid to go for drama that might befit a Shakespearean tragedy. But all’s well that ends well in Hoffman’s witty, heartfelt dance that doesn’t stint on the strings and crashing cymbals for a rapturous, yet quite droll score that will likely make you fall in love again with a dearly departed style of unabashedly emotional scoring that, like its suddenly interested husband and wife, certainly isn’t past its prime in Hoffman’s wonderfully attuned hands.

See the full list and article here:

Daniel Schweiger of Film Music Magazine

From Interview With Mandy Hoffman, May 1, 2017

"The American indie “The Lovers” delightfully has it both ways, no more so than in its gorgeously swooning score by Mandy Hoffman...But listening to Hoffman’s wondrously full-blooded thematic score will likely make cineastes think they’re back in the Gaelic glory days, a sound whose waltzing orchestral richness ironically belies a quite intimate indie film – music that captures the spell of rekindled romance, as well as the moral blowback that must ultimately arrive."

You can read the whole Film Music Magazine interview here.

Glenn Kenny of

From The Lovers, May 5, 2017

"The first thing that really hits you about 'The Lovers' is not its muted color palette, ever-evocative of a smog-suffused Southern California dusk, but its musical score. A lush, romantic through line of melody, performed by a whole orchestra, with passages reminiscent of Ravel, Debussy, even Wagner. The score is by Mandy Hoffman, a longtime collaborator with this film’s director, Azazel Jacobs."

Mick LaSalle of The San Francisco Chronicle

From 'Lovers' A Sincere-Sardonic Portrait Of Middle-Age Despair, May 11, 2017

"But really it's very much it's own thing, a movie with a singular vision and sensibility.

The easiest way to describe that sensibility, because it's worth describing, is to start with Mandy Hoffman's score.  It is a full-on classic Hollywood soundtrack, surging and commenting on the action, insisting on the importance of these lives, not in a naive way, but in a self-conscious and knowing way.  At times, the romanticism of the music borders on a wise-guy response to the bizarre behavior of these characters, and yet it's always emphatically sincere.

The music is not quite saying, "Life has meaning," but it is saying, "Let's assume life has meaning," and "This is real for the characters."  The music is combined with performances that are not inflicted for laughs, but are serious, and with situations that would be comic in any other context.  The result is this wonderful double thing of a movie that's distancing and yet involving, absurd and yet heartfelt, extreme and yet small-scale and human."

Rendy Jones of Rendy's Reviews

From The Lovers Review, May 1, 2017

"Another thing I love about this film is its score. It is whimsical and reminds me of classic Disney Alan Menken/Randy Newman scores but it works. The music really moves the film’s story along. It expresses the characters’ emotions and their relationship like what film scores should do. The music is composed by Mandy Hoffman and I hope [s}he comes up into scoring more films because I feel [s]he can score a Pixar film and it'll become iconic."

John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter

From 'The Lovers': Film Review, May 4 2017

"Smart, unpredictable performances by Debra Winger and Tracy Letts and an uncommonly crucial score by Mandy Hoffman ensure that the picture's odd nature won't be misconstrued as indecisiveness..."


Katie Walsh of ArcaMax and The Chicago Tribune

From Movie Review: 'The Lovers' Is An Exploration Of The Way That Love Can Be a Many-Splendored Thing, May 1, 2017

"One of the unique stylistic choices that Jacobs makes with "The Lovers" is the grand, sweeping orchestral score, composed by Mandy Hoffman. It's unexpected for a smaller romantic indie drama, but it gives the film a sense of a romantic epic while following the quotidian routine of this couple. It adds a layer of artifice to the film, signifying that this is a heightened reality, and infuses every frame with drama and romance."

Noah Gittell of Washington City Paper

From Azazel Jacobs' The Lovers Skillfully Threads The Line Between Comedy And Tragedy, May 11, 2017

"The engaging score by Mandy Hoffman reflects its ethos of unpredictability, shifting so frequently between major and minor keys that we can never even settle on a feeling, allowing us to ride the waves of its characters’ passion."

David Sims of The Atlantic

From The Lovers Is A Strange Tale of Matrimonial Harmony, May 9 2017

"When Mary and Michael begin to rediscover their romantic connection, part of the appeal seems rooted in their familiarity with one another. Through it all, a swooning,  boldly orchestral score by Mandy Hoffman plays. It’s incongruous with the mundane setting and story being told, but perfectly matches the thrill of Mary and Michael’s new attraction." 

Mark Dujsik of Mark Reviews Movies

From The Lovers, May 11, 2017

"The background music (a brilliantly subversive score by Mandy Hoffman) plays with cheerful strings and swelling orchestration behind these little scenes." 

Mike Scott of

From 'The Lovers' Movie Review:  A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Divorce Court, May 24, 2017

"And part of it is in the full orchestral score by Mandy Hoffman, a rarity nowadays for a film that isn't a summertime sequel of some sort, and which, with its bubbliness and playfulness, adds an unexpected richness to the proceedings."

David Edelstein of New York Magazine

From Movie Review: The Lovers Is A Very Smart Movie About A Dumb Idea, May 5, 2017

"With its waltz-like score and farcical symmetry, The Lovers is about as full as a movie can be..." 

Matt Casillas of Silver Screen Beat

From 'The Lovers' review:  Debra Winger and Tracy Letts Shine In This Marriage Rom-Com, May 11, 2017

"Scored to the sweet sounds of composer Mandy Hoffman, whose emphasization of strings and woodwinds works all too well in this tale of strange affairs, we closely watch how Michael and Mary feverishly bring their own marriage to life, while simultaneously spiraling their other relationships into what can only be described as complete and utter chaos."

Daniel Nava of The Chicago Cinema Circuit

From The Lovers, May 8, 2017

"Composed by a member of Jacobs’ retinue, Mandy Hoffman, The Lovers glides to an often uncomfortable but nevertheless appropriate score reminiscent of Jon Brion’s work in Punch-Drunk Love. It’s marked by an ever-present anxiety, compounded with a flush of whimsy and romanticism.  Hoffman’s persistent score is vital to the film’s tonal success, as it’s careful not to anticipate it’s performers’ digressions, which often times calls on Letts and Winger to erratically conceal their affairs."

Joey Nolfi of Entertainment Weekly

From The Lovers: EW Review, May 4, 2017

"He dresses the picture with Mandy Hoffman’s jovial, string-based score that expertly recalls puffy big screen romances of yesteryear, nudging at how the complexities of love have outgrown the mold, as Michael and Mary soon discover."

Dan Callahan of The Wrap

From 'The Lovers' Review: Debra Winger and Tracy Letts Rekindle Their Marital Spark, April 22, 2017

"He takes a real chance by allowing musician Mandy Hoffman to create the kind of full-blown and near constant score with violins that hasn't been heard much since the early 1990s, and this music really bouys the scenes up and makes them sparkle."

Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post

From 'The Lovers', with Debra Winger and Tracy Letts, Is A Charming Late-In-Life Sex Comedy", May 11, 2017

"Anchored by vivid and masterfully calibrated performances from Winger and Letts, and sent aloft by a lilting orchestral score that infuses the most everyday banalities with big, melodramatic emotions, the movie is a tarnished ode to aging, compromise and new beginnings."

Christopher Bourne of Screen Anarchy

From Tribeca 2017 Review: THE LOVERS, Break Up To Make Up, That's All They Do, May 5, 2017

"Jacobs is also greatly aided by the lush, waltz-like orchestral score by Mandy Hoffman, which also lends grand romantic strains to the comic romantic complications."

Eric Kohn of Indiewire 

From Tracy Letts and Debra Winger Are Brilliant As A Couple Who Rediscover Passion In Azazel Jacobs' "The Lovers' - Tribeca Review, April 22, 2017

"Set to an ebullient score by Mandy Hoffman, “The Lovers” has a storybook quality that allows the serendipity of its clever premise to work far better than it should.

Kimber Myers of The Playlist

From Azazel Jacobs' 'The Lovers' Is A Wonderfully Adult Romantic Comedy (Tribeca Review), April 30, 2017

"The score from Jacobs’ frequent collaborator Mandy Hoffman is a sweeping orchestral one, full of strings and emotional builds. It emphasizes that what we’re watching is a blooming romance, even though it’s between people who have been married for decades."

Sarah Boslaugh of Playback

From The Lovers, May 19, 2017

"...for the most part The Lovers presents itself as a pretty conventional, naturalistic movie rom-com. Fortunately, the actors are so good that they carry it off, aided by Mandy Hoffman’s waltz-heavy score—and what music could be more appropriate for a comedy about mature love?"

Justin Chang of The Los Angeles Times

From In 'The Lovers', Debra Winger and Tracy Letts Give Us An Achingly Poignant Portrait of A Modern Marriage, May 4, 2017

"But then something wondrous and sublimely simple happens. Perhaps encouraged by the ever-present caress of Mandy Hoffman’s score, Mary and Michael find themselves falling back into each other’s arms, shocked to realize that, after years of emotional numbness, they still have real, passionate feelings for each other."

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of A.V. Club

From For The Dead-End Couple of The Lovers, Even Breaking Up Is A Compromise, May 4, 2017

"Employing a clean camera style, he treats the office parking lots, dens, and kitchens where so much of the movie unfolds as intimate blank spaces—beige boxes, akin to the classic black-box stage of a small theater, with Hoffman’s score as the counterpoint that, like a play, asks the audience to imagine what the characters see."

Pete Hammond of Deadline

From 'The Lovers' Review: Debra Winger & Tracy Letts Soar in A24's Wickedly Funny Tale of Marriage Gone Sour, May 2, 2017

"Jacobs is in complete command of his material, even to the point of letting composer Mandy Hoffman take a real risk with a big score that could have been disastrously intrusive on the proceedings but manages to strike just the right tone." 

Christopher Gray of Slant

From The Lovers, April 26, 2017

"The film's opening act unfolds in arch, choreographed parallels, united by a ubiquitous orchestral score that labors mightily to elevate the script's mild humor into a rarified romantic farce....Like Mandy Hoffman's willfully obtrusive score, every fussed-over line, nuance of posture, and methodical camera movement in the film draws attention to its construction."

Daniel Barnes of Sacramento News & Review

From The Lovers, May 18, 2017

"Jacobs uses the juxtaposition between his colorless style and composer Mandy Hoffman’s insistently swooning score to great effect, and he’s blessed with strong performances in the lead roles."

Cynthia Citron of San Diego Jewish World

From New Film Asks: Who Do You Love?, May 1, 2017

"Beautifully mounted by director of photography Tobias Datum and enhanced by the expressive score of composer Mandy Hoffman, you’ll find yourself loving The Lovers."

Colin Covert of The Star Tribune

From Ponder This: Debra Winger's 'The Lovers' Is A Thinking Person's Comedy, May 18, 2017

"Writer/director Azazel Jacobs sets up a moody sensibility. He chooses things carefully. From the bland beige emptiness of the home and look-alike work offices that his characters occupy to the smoothly composed serenading-strings soundtrack to the inspired casting, he keeps the laughs from feeling cheap."

One Guy's Opinion

From The Lovers, May 18, 2017

"A more notable contribution comes from composer Mandy Hoffman, whose lush score bears at some points an uncanny resemblance to Pino Donaggio’s work."

Robert Lloyd of The Los Angeles Times

From Review: Amazon's 'I Love Dick' Makes An Uneasy Transition From Page To Screen, May 11, 2017

"On a purely sensual level I would note the Southwest-flavored score by Mandy Hoffman ("Doll & Em") and camerawork by "Transparent" director of photography Jim Frohna."

Chris Hadley of Snobby Robot

From The Mop and Lucky Files Season 2: Continuing To Solve Life's Most Interesting Mysteries, April 28, 2016

Along with the show's hilarious comedy and zany characters, viewers of The Mop and Lucky Files will also be introduced to an equally memborable soundtrack.  'We're especially proud of the music in the show', Taylor and Zorbalas add.  'We have an original score by Mandy Hoffman (the composer of HBO's Doll & Em)'...

Peter Debruge of Variety 

From Terri:  Jacobs' slow-building portrait of a late bloomer makes this poetic pic an outsider even among outsider movies, Jan 23, 2011

Though the film's open-hearted tone springs directly from ...beautiful, sun-bright lensing and Mandy Hoffman's soulful, empathy-inducing score...

Jake Meaney of Pop Matters

From his review of The GoodTimesKid in Non-sequiturs,  June 1, 2007

But its real ace-in-the-hole, which makes it stand out above the parade of inferior, low-budget peers, is its buoyant, ambitious orchestral score by first-time film composer Mandy Hoffman. A riot of clashing styles and loopy refrains, referencing everything from musicals to spy films to Westerns, her compositions provide vital aural clues to the “action”, which is mostly free of dialogue and, well, free of significance too, it seems. But it’s also just a lot of fun to listen to on its own, and I hope beyond hope that it somehow gets a separate release as a CD.


Matt Zoller Seitz of The New York Times

From his article: A Father and Son Tell Their Own Tales of Love and Loss,  January 17, 2007

"Shot in ripe color on 35-millimeter stock reportedly stolen from a Hollywood production, and featuring a Mandy Hoffman score that suggests Nino Rota music performed by an orchestra that's being gradually digested by a boa constrictor, "The GoodTimesKid" finds poetry in wordless scenes of observation..."




2006 Pasadena City College Music Department

  • Faculty Honors in Composition
  • Best Electronic Musician