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Moments where film music reaches an intuitive emotional peak

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I was thinking about the famous "I'm flying" scene from Titanic and, in particular, the precise moment where the music reaches its emotional climax. On paper, you might expect the score to swell at the moment Jack and Rose kiss, but it actually reaches its emotional peak a few seconds later when Rose reaches up her hand to hold Jack's head closer. The moment becomes a lot more sensual and somehow more romantic as a result. I realise this is just intelligent, intuitive film scoring, but the timing of these things always fascinates me.




Another example off the top of my head is the final scene in Home Alone when Kevin and Old Man Marley share their moment through the window. One could score it so the music swells when Marley raises his hand in greeting, but Williams holds it for that little moment longer until Kevin returns the gesture, when both characters have completed their arcs with regards to each other. This video below actually has the alternate “O Holy Night” version of the cue too, and you can see the emotional journey is exactly the same in both pieces of music.




I’m curious to know if you can think of any other examples like this. Moments where the music could reach an emotional peak at one moment, but actually climaxes at another for a stronger emotional impact.

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First you get that horn, augmenting this very stoic-looking image of Wallace (camera looking up to a character with his back turned), one of the few blatant examples of brass in the score, and as he turns around and delivers his incredibly rousing battle cry, the music swells into this very lush theme in the strings - the biggest statement in the score.


But than, as his men's cheers spur him on and he cries out ever harder, the music swells yet again, this time with the Uileann Pipes doubling the strings. Its quite possible one of the very best string performances ever by the London Symphony Orchestra.



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