The Quiet Speaks Loudly On Difficult Issues (Josh's Take)
by Josh Green
September 2, 2006
What would you do if you had a friend that would listen to everything you had to say. What if your friend would never judge you no matter what secrets you told them? Would you tell them your darkest secrets? The Quiet is able to answer all of these questions and more in one of the most disturbing but also one of the most effective films of the year.
Dot (Camilla Belle), a young deaf and mute girl, is taken in by her godparents and their younger daughter Nina (Elisha Cuthbert). It is only after a few days that Dot begins to realize that there are some incredibly dark secrets that the family has. She then has to decide whether to live with these secrets or personally confront them with the consequences of what well happen in mind.
In a way that many other films this year have not been able to do successfully, The Quiet creates a unique but eerie atmosphere in which the characters of the film live in. From the very beginning, it is easy to see the dysfunctional and macabre natures of the Deer family. This makes it easy to connect with Dot, since she seems to be the only normal one in the film. What seems to be so nightmarish about the family is the fact that it's perfectly believable. So believable that we almost feel like Dot. We feel alone and trapped inside the atmosphere.
The believability is also achieved by the fantastic performances of the actors in the film. Martin Donovan puts just the right amount of creepy into the role of the father so we understand that he is mentally sick, but we also know that he realizes this. Elisha Cuthbert is insanely bitchy and cold in the beginning of the film, but is able to soften up after we see the hell that she is going through.
The music in the film is also very fitting. It is unique that it is only solid piano through most of the film. Although it might come off as a little limited at first, the music creates a great deal of tension in specific scenes, as well as adds an unsettling mood.
The reason I am so drawn into The Quiet is because of its ability to deal with uncomfortable issues and not look away from them. It is easy for a film to throw some generic issues on a table and scuttle around on ways to deal with them, but The Quiet doesn't ignore what it's dealing with. I feel like this is a strong point because it showcases that the director Jamie Babbit, as well as everyone else involved in the film, believes in the strong points of the movie. Sexual abuse is defiantly not a topic that is easy for everyone to deal with. Babbit isn't afraid to show what many of the main characters are feeling, which is revealed through conversations that characters have with Dot.
The Quiet is a disturbing but honest look at many difficult issues that unfortunately are overlooked in many households. For an audience who is looking to be challenged with complicated issues, The Quiet offers quite a bit, while still providing an emotionally pleasing closure.