The Great Debaters pairs composers James Newton Howard and Peter Golub, in effect bringing together mainstream, big-budget Hollywood and its independent, low-budget sibling from the wrong side of the tracks. As one might expect, it's far from a seamless marriage: Howard's sweeping, epic melodies and Golub's homespun, acoustic folksiness make for an awkward fit, and never quite capture the film's period Southern locale. Howard ultimately fares better than Golub, if only because the inspirational, true-life narrative is right in the composer's wheelhouse -- cues like "Letter from Harvard" and "James' Speech" effortlessly achieve the kind of heroic, larger-than-life scale that remain his signature.
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny
|The Great Debaters, film score|