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How 'Big Little Lies' Director Jean-Marc Vallée Creates the Perfect Soundtrack

Jean-Marc Vallée (Big Little Lies, Demolition, Sharp ObjectsDallas Buyers Club) directs with intention and energy. Known for essentially zero storyboarding, a preference for natural light, few to no stage marks, and often just a handheld camera, he approaches scenes more like a documentarian than a director, capturing moments with his camera as they arrive.

When we think of capturing moments, living in the moment, or living expressively, it’s hard not to think of music and how it changes us. The brain literally lights up — the way we associate sounds with movement, attention, memory, thoughts, feelings — everything, really.

But, despite this clear shortcut to an emotional response, Vallée doesn’t cheapen the viewer’s reaction. He actually enhances it. When you watch his films, you’ll notice we only hear music when the characters hear music. Explore the video below for a deeper look.