The song “Helplessly Hoping” is used as a form of storytelling for the new from Annihilation. As the song by Crosby, Stills and Nash floats throughout the movie, it reminds Natalie Portman’s character of home, her husband, and her mission.
Ironically, the song was originally written to wave a finger at Hollywood. Composer Stephen Stills said in 1969, the song was “a real country song, as opposed to all those plastic Hollywood country songs by plastic country groups.”
In the movie, it’s almost a juxtaposition to the action and mystery on screen, (somewhat like the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” in 2001’s Frailty).
Crosby, Stills And Nash Create An Icon
The song emerged during the group’s first recording session. Both “Helplessly Hoping” and “You Don’t Have To Cry” were created and given to producer Paul Rothchild in December of 1968.
Eventually, the song peaked at No. 28 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in August the next year. “I loved it as a song and I loved what happened with it,” said Crosby later in 2008. “We got very lucky, very fortunate with the harmonies on that one.”
“They came out extremely well,” he concluded.
How “Helplessly Hoping” Shaped ‘Annihilation’
In the film, the song has been brought new life. Writer-director Alex Garland got the chance to make a film like Annihilation thanks to the success of Ex Machina. But, in addition to the soundtrack, there’s something else special about Garland’s films.
Both of these films are based on realism. In addition to the psychology behind a song making Portman’s character think about her husband, the science it also true. In the film, there are real-life examples of extreme genetic mutations.
“There isn’t a line in Annihilation or Ex Machina that isn’t based on decades of research and scientific understanding,” said Garland. “Even if it’s just one line of dialogue, it’s back up.”
Beyond the special effects, the beauty of the film lies in this realism. Not only is there a powerful story about a woman who has a dying husband, but there’s a sci-fi thriller element held together by a beautiful song.
Have you seen this new film that features the iconic song from Crosby, Stills and Nash?